Honda Motor Europe has appointed Chris Pike as its new operations manager in the World Superbike championship replacing the outgoing Marco Chini.

Pike most recently worked as Jonathan Rea’s crew chief between 2012 and 2014 at Honda before making the move to MotoGP in recent seasons. Pike has a wealth of World Superbike experience having been involved in the first-ever race at Donington Park in 1988 while he was also part of Honda’s world title successes in 1997, 2000 and 2002.

Pike will take up his role immediately in preparation for the 2018 World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island on February 23-25.

“I am very happy to be stepping up to the role of Honda Motor Europe’s Operations Manager in World Superbike; a championship that holds many good memories for me,” Pike said. “Although it is a return to a championship I know very well, this a fresh, new challenge for me and I’m looking forward to applying all that I’ve learned over the years to help Honda be a force in this very competitive series.”

Honda Motor Europe’s head of motorsport Robert Watherston is thrilled to welcome back Pike and is confident of a stronger 2018 campaign in World Superbikes after a difficult maiden year for the new Honda CBR1000RR SP2.

“Chris has been a part of the Honda Racing family for over twenty years and his vast and varied experience will be a real asset to our World Superbike operation,” Watherston said. “With Honda now having three CBR1000RR machines on the grid, expert oversight from both a technical and operational perspective is critical.

“In Chris I believe we have the ideal candidate to move this project forward strongly and help us achieve our goals.”

The factory Red Bull Honda squad lines up with a new rider pairing of Leon Camier and Jake Gagne while TripleM Honda and PJ Jacobsen sees three Fireblades on the 2018 World Superbike grid.