Honda 2009 Motorcycle Racing Plans
With its motorsports activities as the symbol of Honda's challenging spirit, the company has competed in a variety of races since the days of it's founding, aiming for the top level in the world. Constantly striving to fulfill big dreams and high aspirations, Honda has pursued the challenge of leading-edge innovation.
In 1954, Soichiro Honda, the company's founder, announced Honda's intention to take part in the Isle of Man T.T. Race, a Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (WGP) race. Honda started competing in the WGP five years later in 1959. In 1961, only the company's third season, Honda succeeded in dominating the 125cc and 250cc classes of the Isle of Man T.T. Race, winning the top five positions in both classes. Honda also earned its first rider's and manufacturer's titles in both the 125cc and 250cc classes, titles the company had eagerly awaited. Since then, Honda has taken on challenges in a variety of motorcycle race categories.
A logo commemorating the 50th anniversary of Honda's participation in the WGP is attached to the machines and to the uniforms of the riders in each race.
For 2009, the 50th anniversary of the start of Honda participation in the WGP, the company has set its sights on recapturing the championship in the MotoGP class, the top WGP class. Honda will tackle this challenge by drawing on its advanced technologies. Honda aims to continue working on new endeavors with the know-how it has accumulated up to now, along with the spirit of challenge fostered through these motorsports activities, with the hope of sharing the dreams and excitement from these activities with its customers
FIM* Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Honda has set its sights on recapturing the three championship titles of rider, manufacturer and team in the MotoGP class, the top class of the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (WGP), with a total of six riders competing, including satellite team members. Honda plans to race six RC212V machines, which have been further evolved with state-of-the-art technologies.
The Repsol Honda works team will compete with two riders: Dani Pedrosa, in
his forth year in the MotoGP class, and Andrea Dovizioso, Pedrosa's new
works team teammate. Yuki Takahashi moves up from the 250cc to the MotoGP
class this season to compete as a satellite team member. As the only
Japanese rider in the MotoGP class, expectations for his success in the
series are high .
*1: FIM stands for Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme.
In the 250cc class, Honda will field six riders from a total of four teams. Hiroshi Aoyama, Raffaele De Rosa and Ratthapark Wilairot will ride the RS250RW. Moving up to the world championship series this season for a greater challenge is Shoya Tomizawa, who until last year, competed in the GP250 class of the All-Japan Road Race Championship Series. Tomizawa, along with Bastien Chesaux and Toni Wirsing, will take part in the race on an RS250R.
FIM World Trials Championship Series
For the FIM World Trials Championship Series (WCT), Honda will run two Montesa COTA 4RTs equipped with highly competitive 4-stroke engines. With riders Toni Bou, champion for the last two years, and Takahisa Fujinami, the only Japanese rider competing in the WCT, Honda aims to capture the rider's title for the third consecutive year and its forth consecutive manufacturer's title.
Main Honda teams and riders participating in the MFJ* All-Japan Championship Series races
In a collaboration between the Honda Racing Corporation and the technical
staff of the Motorcycle R&D Center of Honda R&D Co., Ltd., Honda Motorcycle
Japan will sponsor the "Honda Racing Family Racing Service" for all Honda
riders participating in each road race or motocross event of the MFJ
All-Japan Championship Series, where they will support the racing activities
of Honda riders by providing machine setting service and advice on riding
techniques. For the All-Japan Trial Championship, Honda Racing Corporation
will provide support to teams and riders, especially those belonging to HRC
Clubs under HRC service shops.
*2: MFJ stands for Motorcycle Federation of Japan.
FIM Endurance World Championship Series
Suzuka 8 Hours World Endurance Championship Race
For the 32nd Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race, Honda plans to provide support to the following two private teams through loaning each team a machine with equivalent performance to a works machine.
MUSASHI RT HARC-PRO.
* This information is provisional and subject to change.
Main Honda teams and riders participating in the World Superbike (WSB) Championship, the World Supersport (WSS) Championship and the World Motocross (WMX) Championship, with support from Honda Motor Europe Ltd.
A total of six riders will take part in the World Superbike (WSB) Championship as members of private teams supported by overseas subsidiary Honda Motor Europe Ltd. (HME), including Ryuichi Kiyonari, Carlos Checa and Jonathan Rea on even more competitive CBR1000RRs. Having started competing in the WSB last season, Ryuichi Kiyonari will draw on last year's experience in the series and excellent riding skills to aim for the championship title. Carlos Checa, Kiyonari's teammate and friendly rival, also competed as a rookie in the WSB last season and will spend his second year in the WSB capitalizing on his wealth of experience in racing. Jonathan Rea moves up to the WSB this year after competing in the World Supersport (WSS) Championship Series and ranking second last season. Expectations for his success in the future are high.
For the World Supersport (WSS) Championship, Honda will continue its activities through support from HME as was done for WSB. Honda riders include Andrew Pitt, last year's champion, and Kenan Sofuoglu, who is returning to the WSS after winning the championship in 2007 and competing in the WSB last season. Anthony West comes to the WSS, a new category for competition for him, after having competed in MotoGP races until last year. Including these riders, a total of eight riders will compete in the WSS this season. In each of the seven years since 2002, Honda has won the WSS championship, building up an unshakable position in the series with rider skills, machine performance and teamwork that overwhelm other teams. Honda will again aim for the championship this season with the further evolved CBR600RR.
For the World Motocross (WMX) Championship as well, HME will provide support to two teams in the MX1 class, the top class in the series. A total of four riders will ride CRF450Rs: Billy Mackenzie and Marc de Reuver, back to compete again after last season, and new team members, Cedric Melotte and Kevin Strijbos.