It is no secret that Honda is expected to announce a new version of its CBR1000RR Fireblade for 2017.

In terms of World Superbike, a new homologated model will be essential in order to continue using 'ride-by-wire' throttle technology, a key component of traction control.

While the current rules allow a ride-by-wire 'kit' to be fitted, this will change in 2017, when the new regulations state:

"Electronically controlled throttle valves, known as 'ride-by-wire', may be only used if the homologated model is equipped with the same system."

World Superbike technical director Scott Smart confirmed to that manufacturers already have the appropriate ride-by-wire throttle bodies on their homologated Superbikes - with the exception of Honda and Suzuki ('partial' system).

Suzuki is also rumoured to be unveiling a new Superbike soon, raising hopes of a factory-backed World SBK return.

Nicky Hayden will continue at Ten Kate to headline Honda's 2017 World Superbike line-up, with his team-mate still to be confirmed.

Michael van der Mark currently occupies the second seat, but MotoGP riders Stefan Bradl and Eugene Laverty are also in contention.

By Peter McLaren