Honda Racing UK have announced their 2023 Bennetts British Superbike Championship line up as Andrew Irwin returns with the team and is joined by Dean Harrison, following the global announcement of the significantly updated CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
Multiple race winner Irwin continues for his second consecutive year with the team and is joined by top-ten BSB finisher and road racing contender Dean Harrison. The pair will line up on the latest Fireblade, which, amongst a host of updates, benefits from improved cornering performance and braking stability as a result of chassis development and MotoGP-derived aerodynamics, whilst further engine evolution has increased mid-range acceleration and top-end power.
Irwin returns for another year with the team after an injury interrupted season in 2023, where his momentum was interrupted by a testing crash at Knockhill, which resulted in four months on the sidelines before returning for the final two rounds of the season. Harrison joins him in the team as he makes the move to Honda, as he claimed top ten finishes this season in Bennetts BSB.
Irwin said: “I am looking forward to 2024 with the new Fireblade, I think this bike is going to give us a step forward and I can’t wait to race it. The bike is already more than capable of doing the job so to see improvements is hugely motivating.
“Continuing for another year with Honda has always been my priority and I want to put 2023 behind me and focus all of my attention and energy on 2024. I am under no illusions that I need to have a good season, I am going into 2024 to rebuild my career after a very difficult 2023, and I want to come back and be fast and always be there fighting. Consistency is what works and getting to maintain that for another year with Honda is crucial to building some momentum. Sometimes a break is as good as anything and I’ve had a long old break. I'm hungry, I’m motivated and I’m eager to get going again.”
Harrison said: “I can’t wait to begin a new chapter with Honda Racing UK and I jumped at the chance when this opportunity came about. If I'm honest, it hasn’t sunk in yet and I don’t think it will until I get to ride the bike for the first time in Honda colours. It feels like a really good time to have a refresh and now is as good a time as any for a change. I have always been a Honda fan, and Honda is the way I want to go.
“I am also really looking forward to being part of a multi-rider team after riding in a solo team for so long. To be able to see each other's data and collaborate on ideas is going to be of great value to me. The short circuits are a big part of my season and I think that working with Andrew and the team will help to bring me on and push me to the next level. I think that the Honda package, with the new bike, could be the missing link that I need.”
Havier Beltran, Team Manager, Honda Racing UK, commented: “I am delighted to welcome all of our riders, those returning and joining us for the 2024 season. It is certainly going to be an extremely exciting year for Honda with our expanded rider line-up and growth into a variety of racing classes. Retaining Andrew’s services was a priority as we never really got the chance to showcase what he is capable of this year. He is a Honda winner and he has all the potential to be a winner once more with this new Fireblade. Dean is also more than capable of strong results in this series and we welcome him into the team.”
Neil Fletcher, Head of Motorcycles, Honda UK, concluded: “It is with great excitement that I look forward to 2024 and our racing endeavours in the British Supersport series alongside our dedication to Superbikes. In each of these categories, Honda has enormous potential with new and updated models - the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP and the CBR600RR - both are no strangers to race circuits and championships around the globe.
“No other manufacturer delivers the same level of commitment to racing as Honda, and we at Honda UK are extremely proud to be a part of that racing commitment. I welcome Dean and Jack into the fold as well as the return of Andrew. We are targeting a return to the front, to put these models back where they belong on the top step of the podium. I firmly believe that we have the personnel, the infrastructure and the potential to do just that.”
Honda Racing UK riders will be in attendance at Motorcycle Live this Sunday (19 November) for ‘BSB Day’ ahead of the start of their respective 2024 season preparations with the Bennetts British Superbike Championship kicking off in Spain at the Circuito de Navarra on 20/21 April.