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Honda Racing UK and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announce new project

Honda Racing UK has announced a brand-new project with Honda Motor Co., Ltd. - the Honda Superbike Challenge Program. Rolling out for the 2021 season, the new project will support racers competing in national championships worldwide, to take further steps in their racing careers.

Joining forces with Honda’s head office in Japan, the programme will see Honda Racing UK’s participation in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship sit within Honda’s global racing activities from MotoGP, World Superbike and the All-Japan Championship.

As part of the ‘Honda Superbike Challenge Program’, Honda Racing UK have signed Ryo Mizuno for the 2021 Bennetts BSB Championship aboard the race-winning CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. Bringing a wealth of experience from the All-Japan series, as well as the Suzuka 8 Hours aboard Fireblade machinery, this will be the first time he has raced on UK soil.

Honda Racing UK has enjoyed past success with Japanese riders, having won the British Superbike Championship three times with Ryuichi Kiyonari (2006, 2007, 2010) and Mizuno too has championship titles to his name having won the All-Japan J-GP3 championship in 2015 and the All-Japan J-GP2 Championship in 2017.

Mizuno said: “I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, signing a deal with Honda Racing UK team to ride the new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP in the British championship.

Thanks to all my family, friends and personal sponsors. I can't wait to get started and hope to have a lot of success in front of our fans later this year.”

Havier Beltran, Honda (UK) Racing Team Manager said: "This is a very exciting time for Honda Racing UK joining forces with Honda Motor Co., Ltd and will be great to have their support in what are uncertain times for everyone and not just in the racing world. Our participation in BSB will now sit within Honda's global 2-wheel racing programme, which echoes past years when we had backing from HRC.

“It's a great project to be involved with and we of course have a very good track record with Japanese riders, Kiyo won the title three times with us and Ryo brings a huge amount of experience and also talent with him. His lap times at the Suzuka 8 Hours last year were impressive and although the British circuits are very different, I think he will enjoy them and be competitive on the Fireblade SP.”

Soichi Yamana, Department Manager, Motorcycle Department, Motor Sports Division, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. commented: "Honda is excited to have the opportunity to nurture new talent in BSB through our new Honda Superbike Challenge Program, set up with Honda Racing UK. This program aims to produce world-class riders through encouraging skill development by experiencing demanding racing conditions.

"We believe BSB, with its wide variety of tracks throughout the UK, provides the perfect framework. Through this program, Honda will discover young talent from within its worldwide network, and strive to nurture the next generation of top riders. We cannot wait for the 2021 BSB season to start.”

Neil Fletcher, Head of Motorcycles, Honda UK added: "We've been working on this project with Honda Japan for some time and I am very excited to see it happening. The British championship is intensely competitive and to have Ryo joining the team and coming to the series is a positive for everyone involved.

"Honda take great pride in developing young riders, whether it's getting people on two wheels on the road or nurturing and developing young talent through racing. The Honda British Talent Cup is a hugely successful programme designed to get racers into MotoGP, so with the Honda Superbike Challenge Program we can also target Superbike championships across the world. I'm excited for the 2021 season and to see Ryo, Glenn and Tom in action.”

Stuart Higgs, Series Director, Bennetts British Superbike Championship concluded: “The inclusion of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship within Honda’s global racing activities is great recognition, especially in these turbulent times. As the championship celebrates its 25th Anniversary season, comparisons will of course be drawn to the period of HRC factory participation and the success of Ryuichi Kiyonari, which I am sure new signing Ryo Mizuno will wish to emulate.

“Honda in the UK is a cornerstone of the British Championship and 2021 will see increased representation in the BSB and Superstock classes and a continuation of the Honda British Talent Cup, designed to propel the next generation of British riders into World Championship competition.”

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