Takumi Takahashi hopes to kick-start a late season revival for Red Bull Honda as he lends his experience with the new Fireblade ahead of his debut in the World Superbike championship this weekend at Portimao.

The factory Honda rider has delivered encouraging results in the Japanese Superbike championship and despite missing out on a podium at the iconic Suzuka 8 Hours in July Takahashi is confident he can help Red Bull Honda develop the new Fireblade in WorldSBK, while further technical assistance is expected to arrive from Japan.

Despite his experience for Honda and with the new Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2, Takahasi is preparing for his rookie outing in the World Superbike championship but is optimistic for a strong showing at Portimao.

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“I’m honoured as a rider who has continuously fought to race on the world stage that my achievements and experience have been recognised and I have been given the opportunity to race in the World Superbike Championship,” Takahashi said.

“I’ll use all the experience I’ve gained racing the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 in the All-Japan championship to aim high and contribute to the team. I’d like to ride my best in front of the World Superbike fans, so I hope they’ll look forward to seeing me.”

Takahashi will join up with the Red Bull Honda squad alongside Stefan Bradl in Portugal before returning for the Jerez round next month, but the team is yet to confirm who will ride as the German’s team-mate for the Magny-Cours and Losail rounds.

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Ah yes, the 'Fireblade SP2 experience' - presumably that is the one where you end up being chucked off the bike owing to the iffy electronics. Ask John McGuinness or Guy Martin for their opinion.

Honda certainly don't have WSB high in their list of priorities it would seem. But even in MotoGP these days, if they didn't have MM riding for them I'm pretty sure they'd not be getting into the top 3 there...

Takahashi will be very very surprised to find the very very rough riding tecqnique of riders of non-Japanese descent in WSBK.!  But wishing him do well if the Honda Fireblade is up to the task. I find them to be super slow everytime watched their race so far.