Castrol Honda will turn its attentions towards the 2012 World Superbike Championship by debuting its ride-by-wire technology in a race environment at Imola.
Fresh from the announcement that it will continue in World Superbikes next season with its seven-time race winner Jonathan Rea remaining at the helm, Castrol Honda tested the ride-by-wire technology for the first time at the recent Misano test with a view to adding it to the bike for 2012.
However, a change in the regulations ahead of Imola means Honda can begin preparations early by equipping it to the CBR1000RR of Rea and his team-mate Ruben Xaus for the final three rounds of the 2011 season.
An attempt to get a head start on the competition, Rea – who made his return from injury last time out at the Nurburgring – was pleased to be looking forward.
“Imola has so much history and I remember the great battle between Castrol Honda's Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss there back in 2002,” he said. “It's a circuit I really enjoy riding but I didn't have so much luck last year, crashing out of a really wet Superpole and breaking my wrist, which ended my season a little prematurely. Since then, I've had a similar injury on my other wrist, but it was good to come back at Nurburgring in the last round.
“The Misano test last week was pretty good and allowed us to see the potential of the new ride-by-wire system. There's more work to do though, and we'll continue development of the package at Imola this weekend with one eye on the 2012 season, although of course I'll be aiming for two good results for myself and the team.”