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Honda Racing announces Superbike team line-up

Author: HRC - HM Plant Press Release
Posted on: Thursday, Nov 04 2004

The manufacturer will campaign its CBR1000RR Fireblade for a second consecutive year. However, the Honda Racing Superbike will appear in two separate guises in 2005.

The Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) will continue to support the HM Plant Honda Racing team. The riders from the 2004 season – Michael Rutter and Ryuichi Kiyonari – will once again compete on factory HRC-prepared CBR1000RR Fireblades with Michelin tyres.

They will be joined on the grid for 2005 by the back-to-back British Supersport Champion Karl Harris. Having won the Supersport series in 2003-04 on the Honda CBR600RR, Harris will move up to the Superbike class on a Honda Racing CBR1000RR Fireblade with Dunlop tyres.

HM Plant Honda Racing took eight race wins in the 2004 British Superbike Championship with Rutter (six) and Kiyonari (two). The 31-year-old Leicestershire rider finished runner-up to John Reynolds in the 13-round series, while his 21-year-old Japanese team-mate took sixth overall at the end of his rookie season.

Harris has already tested a prototype of the Fireblade – developed at Honda Racing’s Louth headquarters – and raced it at a non-championship event at Castle Combe in September. The 24-year-old Yorkshireman will compete in different colours to the HRC-supported HM Plant Honda Racing squad. A further announcement will be made regarding the team’s commercial activities when these have been finalised.

Honda Racing’s Race Team Manager Neil Tuxworth said: “The success of HM Plant Honda Racing in the 2004 British Superbike Championship made our choice of riders straightforward for next season. Following a year of development on circuits in the UK and Ireland, the HRC-prepared CBR1000RR Fireblade will be a formidable tool for our championship challenge in 2005.

“Michael and Kiyo have proved that they can win races and have the potential to take the HM Plant Hondas to the title. This consistency will play a key role as we embark on our winter test programme in preparation for the start of next season.

“Karl has of course ridden with us over the past two years and we believe the time is right for him to make a natural progression into the Superbike class. He has already demonstrated the capability to fulfil his obvious potential at the highest level of the sport.”

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