Honda team manager Jaume Colom concedes the unexpected pause to the 2020 World Supebike championship enforced by the coronavirus pandemic has triggered a negative effect on its development with the new CBR1000RR-R.

With HRC delivering a new Superbike for 2020, the only all-new bike on the grid for this season aside from Yamaha’s upgrades to the YZF-R1, all eyes have been on Honda’s preparations in winter testing and the opening rounds to assess its competitive level in relation to the rest of the World Superbike grid.

But following numerous wet and cold pre-season tests which provided unrepresentative running conditions, the new-look factory Honda squad had been hoping to make up for lost time over the opening rounds in the 2020 season but due to the ongoing postponements those plans are also on hold.

“We knew that the beginning would not be easy,” Colom, HRC team manager, said. “At a logistical level, we have started from scratch, from the most basic things, going through all the material, tools and personnel.

“This requires many hours and a lot of work. I am very excited about the project, but we have to wait for the current situation to improve and we can recover normal life and work.

“From a sporting side, the current circumstances affect us a lot, because what we need are hours of training and being on the track. Work has continued in Japan, but with the bike and its development, we cannot do anything.

“As I say, in HRC the activity has continued, but working in the office is not the same as working on the track. All the data we got from Australia has been analysed – what would help us now is to keep on riding the bike.”

Despite the delays to the current season, HRC says it hasn’t altered its goals for the 2020 season with experienced rider duo of Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista.

Both riders were unfortunate to be caught in separate collisions during the 2020 World Superbike opener at Phillip Island which dampened results, with Bautista taking a pair of sixth places while failing to score in the Sprint Race, as Haslam finished fifth in Race 1, eighth in the Sprint Race and 12th in Race 2.

“No timing has been set, but obviously we are all here to win, or at least to try to win,” Colom said. “There is hope and desire, if we can win in our second race we won’t wait for our third or fourth.

“We need to fit all the pieces, on the personal, technical and organisational side. We have not set a deadline, saying ‘from the fifth round we must win’, but we all press ourselves to give as much as possible.”

Provisionally, the WorldSBK season is set to restart at Imola on May 8-10 but further postponements are expected in the coming weeks.

 

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