Honda’s WorldSBK operations manager Chris Pike is keen to see the Japanese manufacturer’s involvement in the series increase for 2019 while laying out the extensive development plan ahead.

In an interview released by Honda over the World Superbike summer break, Pike has reviewed his team’s progress over this season and identifies key areas to improve on and trigger the necessary development plan.

Leon Camier makes Red Bull Honda debut

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Despite an encouraging start to 2018, with Leon Camier finishing all of the opening four races inside the top seven with the highlight of fourth place in the Thailand opening race, the Red Bull Honda squad has been badly hampered by rider injuries again this year after a torrid time in 2017.

Honda expanded its World Superbike efforts this year with customer squad TripleM Honda which runs PJ Jacobsen, whose development progress has been positive while results have struggled to match expectations, with Pike revealing the team could increase to a two-bike effort from next season.

“Of course we would like to see more bikes on the grid, it’s the sign of a successful machine if everybody wants your bike,” Pike said, having moved into the role vacated by Marco Chini at the start of 2018. “Matthias [Moser] at TripleM has indicated to us that he would like to expand his team and we are currently in negotiations about this, although nothing has been confirmed at this stage.”

Focusing on the remainder of 2018, Pike has outlined an extensive development plan with the CBR1000RR SP2 including working with two chassis options, a new Akrapovic exhaust system and Magneti Marelli electronics updates.

“We have quite a lot of things to test in Portimão, so much that we booked an extra couple of days of track time,” he said. “We have an two different chassis options to test to get a direction for 2019, Akrapovič have built a new exhaust system for the Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR and there are some quite significant electronic upgrades to try.

“We also have a brand new engine specification to try out, so it’s fair to say that the team will be busy during the upcoming tests.”

The 2018 World Superbike championship resumes at Portimao on September 14-16 to kick-start the final four rounds of the season.



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