Honda Racing has confirmed its 2017 MCE British Superbike championship rider line-up of Dan Linfoot and Jason O'Halloran who will aim to turn the new Fireblade into a title contender, but drops Jenny Tinmouth after two seasons.
O'Halloran is set to celebrate a decade competing for Honda, three years in his native Australia plus seven years with Honda UK, and is seen as a pivotal player in the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 programme having raced on three previous versions of the Superbike.
Linfoot is set to enjoy his third consecutive campaign with Honda and is also relishing the challenge of developing the new Fireblade.
The team celebrated a standout 2016 with O'Halloran claiming a maiden BSB win with the team collecting a total of 13 rostrum results on its way to a double Showdown berth, with Linfoot finishing the year fourth and O'Halloran fifth in the riders' championship.
Honda Racing will begin pre-season testing with the new CBR1000RR SP2 in the new year with an extensive development programme scheduled both in the warmer climates of Spain and back in the UK before the start of the 2017 BSB season at Donington Park between 31 March – 2 April.
The partnership renewal between Linfoot, O'Halloran and Honda UK sees it progress into a third consecutive BSB campaign, something Nick Campolucci, head of motorcycles at Honda UK, feels is key to deliver consistency in the transition between the Fireblade models.
“We are delighted to re-sign Dan and Jason for a third year in BSB,” Campolucci said. “Over the last two Superbike seasons they have both shown their potential and their help with the machine development has been crucial.
“I'm looking forward to seeing them ride the new Fireblade for the first time and can't wait to hear their feedback. Both have proved they were capable of being competitive aboard an 'old' machine, so once they have equal machinery and set-up to their competitors underneath them, I think they will be unstoppable.
“I'm pleased both Dan and Jason wanted to stay with us for another year; it shows great faith and commitment from both riders in the team and also Honda. I think we're in for a very exciting 2017 season and I can't wait to see how the boys get on.
“While Jenny won't be racing with us in 2017, everyone at Honda UK thanks her for the excitement and enthusiasm that she's brought over the past two years. I'm sure this won't be the last time we see her at Honda Racing in some capacity.”
Both Linfoot and O'Halloran have echoed their sentiments about the opportunity to help make the new Fireblade a 2017 title contender as it had been part of both their long-term goals in BSB with the team.
“When I first signed in 2015 it was always in the back of my mind that I'd like to remain until the new Fireblade was available and I'm so pleased that this is now possible,” Linfoot said. “Next year will be an exciting time for the team with the new CBR after eight years with the old model, and I'm excited to continue to help with the development.
“We've had two strong years with the last model Fireblade, so I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do on the new one and I'm certain we can be even stronger than we have been.”
“I'm really looking forward to next year, I know we're going to be stronger with the experience and what we have learnt from this season,” O'Halloran said. “I will have the same crew behind me, the same team and we'll have the new Fireblade, which is exciting. I have raced the last model Fireblade since 2008, which is a long stint and have worked with Honda on the development, so it's an exciting time with the new CBR – I can't wait to ride it now.”