Team HRC will return to the tracks with Leon Haslam, Alvaro Bautista and Leon Camier.
Team HRC is ready to get back into action with the first test of the 2021 season. Riders will endure a two-day session in the south of Spain, at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, on 20 to 21 January.
The upcoming test marks the start of a long pre-season which, due to the ongoing pandemic, will precede a 2021 Superbike World Championship that is expected to get underway two months later than usual. The opening round of the championship will be scheduled for Europe (Assen, 23-25 April) rather than Australia, as was tradition.
Team HRC will be kickstarting their season last season’s Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista. Leon Camier will be joining the two as he makes his transition from rider to Team HRC Team Manager.
“I’m very happy to start again and curious to see what has been done during the winter period in Japan. We’ll have some things to try so that we can make some steps forward in terms of bike setup and development. We’ll have to see what conditions are like of course because the weather in January is always a bit tricky and it’s not easy to find ideal conditions.
It’s nevertheless important to provide the HRC engineers in Japan with some useful feedback. This winter I’ve worked hard on my physical training and on my focus and concentration, to try and be ready for the new year and to maintain my potential as a rider. I’m eager to start the new season and hope the general situation will return to something more like “normal”. The goal is to further develop the project and build on the foundations we’ve laid over the last year. On the personal side, I’m overjoyed about the birth of my second daughter this winter. She has been very good and arrived before the action gets underway!”
“It’s been a long winter, a strange one too, as we normally only really have a couple of weeks off before winter testing gets underway. It’s been nice to have some downtime with friends. But the pandemic has made things quite difficult in terms of training. I’d normally be on a fitness camp in Spain for example, but things are a little different this time. I hope to be in Barcelona with the team soon anyway, for some flat track and MX training which should be good. And I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Jerez test of course, it’s a great chance to blow off the cobwebs. I’ve been keeping in regular contact with everyone in recent weeks and I’m keen to catch up with the team, get started with the work, and see where we are with the new items from Honda and HRC.”
“I’ve been a Honda rider for several seasons during my career. I’m now very happy and proud to be back with the company for what is a major change in my professional and personal life. I thank Honda for the trust they have put in me. The WorldSBK project is very important and the new CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE looks absolutely great. I’m prepared to work hard to achieve our goals.
I always did so as a rider and I will continue in the same way as Team Manager. Having raced in SBK for many years, I know the championship and its challenges very well. However, the current period further exacerbates these issues. But in working alongside two very strong riders like Alvaro and Leon, and such a professional group of people as Team HRC and the HRC engineers, I am confident we’ll be able to reach our full potential and fight for top results. We now have two days of testing at Jerez. It will be my first opportunity to work with the team. I really look forward to starting this new and exciting adventure.”