The Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship Presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) caught up with Crankt Protein Honda Racing’s Team Principal, Paul Free and rider Troy Herfoss to discuss arrival of the new CBR1000SP2, the importance of the new CBR’s sophisticated electronics package and the team’s performance so far in the Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance (YMI) Superbike class.
Crankt Protein Honda Racing teammates Herfoss and Bryan Staring, performed their first shakedown of the 2017 road going CBR1000SP2 at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit last week, at the official national media launch of the bike. According to Free the Honda chassis has always been extremely well balanced and provides plenty of feeling for the riders, that hasn’t changed. The main improvements will be provided by the electronics now included on the new CBR, and the increase in pure engine power. Compared to its rivals, the Honda has been losing time down the straights, and Free feels this shouldn’t be an issue with the new bike.
Reigning ASBK Champion Herfoss, explained his positive first impressions of the bike at the official launch.
“The bike felt small, nimble and has what we’ve all been hoping for, more horsepower. As a team we are looking forward to developing the bike and getting it out on the track as soon as possible,” explained Herfoss “It would be silly for me to say the new bike will be guaranteed to be quicker straight out of the blocks, but its got significant potential,
“The new CBR1000SP2 will be a huge boost to our Championship chances. With the current bike, if I’m within a few tenths of a chasing rider before the front straight, there’s a good chance I’m going to get passed. Hopefully if we run the new bike at Darwin, I’ll be able to be patient and ride in the slipstream to overtake other riders.”
Free explained that the team are hopeful to debut the new bike in race trim at Round 4 Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin NT, but are waiting for the new Race Kit Electronic Control Unit (ECU) that will make the motorcycle viable for competition use and allow the riders to set the bike up to their preferences.
Free believes that other manufacturers sophisticated electronics play a large part in their success and is hoping that Honda’s new electronics will bring them into line with their toughest competition and assist them in being stronger in the latter stages of races.
Another significant change for the bike is the new throttle-by-wire system instead of the traditional throttle cable actuation.
“It’s the way of the world at the moment. The development of throttle bodies and throttle-by-wire systems has been significant in recent times. You can achieve a lot more with throttle-by-wire systems which works together with the electronics package to provide significant feedback over a standard cable system. Honda is one of the last to move to the process of throttle-by-wire system but the benefits are evident. As long as you have proper control over the new system, it should work well for racing purposes.” Free added.
“We are satisfied with the performance of the team and riders so far. There are improvements that we would like to make with Starring; he’s ultimately not where he wants to be. There have been signs of brilliance at times, but for some reason it all hasn’t clicked together. We are sure he will have impressive results to come; it’s all about pulling it together and making it click. Troy’s results are what you would expect, always at the top of the field and fighting for the Championship.” Free said.
The big question is how will the team fare at the next round?
“Our performance at Darwin will likely depend on which bike we are running. If we are running the current bike that we have run for many years, the circuit will likely be difficult, due to the long straight and our straight line speed compared to the competition. If we run the new bike, we should be very competitive, as the overall speeds should be evened out. It will completely depend on which motorcycle we run.” Free explained.
In conjunction with the Supercar’s Round held at Hidden Valley Raceway at Darwin NT 16-18 June; Herfoss will be performing demonstration laps and putting on a show for the crowd.
“I’ve been involved for a long time and even when the ASBK ran rounds within the Supercars series called “2 plus 4″ (reference to the wheels of each machine), so it will be interesting to see the level of interest in the Superbikes at the Supercars. According to Honda’s research there is a large contingent of Supercars fans that are very much into Superbikes as well, so we see it as an opportunity to achieve a crossover of fans towards the ASBK Round.” Free stated.
Make sure to attend Round 4 at Hidden Valley Raceway 7-9 July, to see if the Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team debut the new bike!
Can’t make it to the track? Then make sure you watch the ASBK, Sunday on channel SBS or Live Stream.
Stay up to date with all the latest news and updates from the ASBK in the lead up to Round 4 at Hidden Valley Raceway by liking ASBK on Facebook, following the @asbk on Instagram and checking out the ASBK website here.
|2017 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship Presented by Motul Pirelli Calendar:|
|Round 4 Hidden Valley Raceway, NT||7-9 July|
|Round 5 Morgan Park Raceway, Warwick, QLD||25-27 August|
|Round 6 SMP Eastern Creek, NSW||8-10 September|
|Round 7 Spokes.com.au presents Phillip Island Circuit, VIC||6-8 October|
Photo Courtesy of MCNews.com.au
Photographer: Robert Murdoch
Troy Herfoss on the new CBR1000SP2 at Phillip Island Bike Launch.