As expected, two of the world most known manufacturers have confirmed today what we suspected it would eventually happen. Honda, through its racing department Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), and German giants BMW Motorrad, announced they will be returning to the World Superbike championship as factory teams in 2019!
Those are great news for the fans who “lost” Aprilia, at least for now, since Shaun Muir Racing decided to change bike manufacturer from Aprilia to BMW Motorrad. The British outfit will now get a significant boost in terms of factory support, something Shaun Muir has always asked Aprilia Racing but without much reply from the Noale factory.
Now, BMW Motorrad will take Aprilia’s place as partner of the SMR team, and to help the brand-new S1000RR reach the top spots in World Superbike, the team has opted to go for the experienced riders.
Tom Sykes, former Kawasaki Racing Team rider and WSBK champion, decided to accept the team offer, and will be joined by the new Superstock 1000 champion, Markus Reiterberger, who rode the old S1000RR to the title in great fashion this past season and will now need to show at the highest level what he is capable of.
But BMW Motorrad isn’t the only factory that announced a return.
Honda has asked its racing division HRC to step into action next season, in hopes the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 gains momentum and raises its performance, something that Ten Kate wasn’t able to do, even though HRC gave some support to the Dutch team throughout the years.
So, from 2019, HRC returns as a factory team, but they won’t be alone since the Japanese brand brings with them another Japanese well-known name, Moriwaki, and both will get the help of Althea Racing, with Genesio Bevilacqua agreeing to help Honda and Moriwaki by taking care of all the logistics and manpower of a factory effort in the World Superbike championship.
The new team doesn’t have a name yet, but HRC has decided to maintain Leon Camier aboard the Fireblade, while for the second bike the team opted to go for one of the fastest Japanese riders ever to race in WSBK, multiple BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari who makes a shock return to the world championship.