For the first time in over 16 years, Honda will return to World Superbike championship with full factory support in 2019 after signing a deal with Moriwaki and Althea team.
Yesterday at EICMA show in Milano it was a big day for Honda fans, as factory confirmed the long rumoured news of them returning to Superbike World championship as a full factory entry, which will happen for the first time since Honda UK run Castrol Honda operation in 2002. New team, that has no official name yet right now, will be run in collaboration of Italian team Althea Racing, which ran single BMW for Loris Baz during 2018 season, and All Japan Superbike team Moriwaki Engineering.
This move also means that Ten Kate, who was running Honda Superbike effort since 2004 and was entrusted the development of new Fireblade SP2 last year with the help of Red Bull backing, has been left out of the deal, leaving teams future in the dark.
Riders of the newly established team will be Leon Camier, who was always thought of staying and will enter the second year of his directly to HRC signed contract, and three time British Superbike champion Ryuichi Kiyonari, who will make his WSBK return for the first time since 2009. This also means that American Jake Gagne, who was Honda’s second rider during 2018 season, will most likely return home to MotoAmerica championship.
Featured Image Credit: World SBK