Glenn Irwin heads into his second season with Honda Racing UK after a 2020 BSB campaign that saw him finish fourth and become a consistent championship challenger.

In pre-season testing ahead of next month’s season opener, Irwin has done little to dampen those expecting him to once again challenge and possibly win the title as he was fastest during the two-day Silverstone test, which also included a new lap record around the national layout. 

Snetterton proved more troublesome for everyone though as only two sessions out of a scheduled nine saw riders complete lap times due to poor weather. But when speaking with Irwin about his feelings so far, he said: "First of all it was great to be back out there and be on track with everyone else. 

"It’s where we know where we are as such, providing everybody is working on the same strategies. At Silverstone I feel like we made some really good strides with the bike. 

"We got it to do what I wanted it to do and enable me to ride a Superbike in the correct way, to turn, but also save the tyre by trying to avoid the edge of the tyre and doing everything we can from a setup point of view to use that part where most of the grip is. 

"I think we did really well from a chassis point of view. We had a load of new bits to try. We had electronic strategies that made the bike easier to ride which gave us more speed because you’re able to come off the corners a little bit better. 

"So we had that and we also had a new swingarm as well. It’s derived from the standard one. It’s funny because they’re new to developing the standard arm, but I still think there’s strengths from the very first one we got last year which is basically standard. 

"If you asked me which one is better I would have to say it might be a track-by-track thing at the minute, but it was good to get through a raft of parts."

Regarding the final two tests at Oulton Park and Donington, Irwin is focused on testing the swingarm parts more with ‘back-to-back’ comparisons being the aim.

Irwin added: "So there’s new things that will clearly look different on the bike that I will be trying. I want to test back-to-back two versions of the swingarm. I also want to back-to-back that with another manufacturer's swingarm that will be arriving. 

"There’s a lot of work with that as you need to give each one more than 5-6 laps to get the potential out of it and really know which is the best. 

"There’s also areas to work on like our weaknesses - that of the rider and the bike. In BSB without anti-wheelie the Hondas struggle a bit in those areas. We have the wings which help on corner entry but perhaps not a massive help on wheelie. 

"I’ve had a chat with a couple of the guys and asked to do a load of homework before Oulton to see where I’m wheelieing, when it starts, what RPM, where it is, and then when we arrive we can go out with last year's bike first."

In recent years many WorldSBK and BSB riders have had the opportunity to compete at the Suzuka 8 hour race based upon the manufacturer they’re a part of.

And with it being one of the biggest yearly events for Honda, I asked Irwin about potentially doing the Suzuka race if things go well in BSB. 

Irwin said: "There’s a bucket list of events with the Bol d’Or, Daytona 200, Isle of Man TT and the Suzuka 8 hours is right up there. 

"I think what’s really exciting about it is being with Honda and being I hope long-term here. 

"Hopefully this is something we can build on and if I can get into the Suzuka race in this early part of my career, then maybe one day we can be in one of the best teams. There’s a couple of teams that give you the chance to fight for the podium there."