- January 2, 2018
The 2017 campaign was full of promise when ten Kate Honda signed Red Bull as its title sponsor. The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team would feature two former World champs in Nicky Hayden (MotoGP) and Stefan Bradl (Moto2) aboard an entirely-new Honda superbike platform designed to take on the class powerhouses of Kawasaki and Ducati. Needless to say, things didn’t turn out as planned.
Even before the tragic mid-season death of Hayden, the new team and new bike were far from competitive beneath the two World champions. The bike didn’t handle well, lacked power, and had poorly integrated electronics … problems that, for the most part, never went away. A result inside the top 10 was welcomed by a team that began by expecting consistent podium finishes.
After the loss of Hayden, Bradl had his own problems (including injuries) resulting in his termination by the team, which will bring two new riders for 2018. American Jake Gagne and Brit Leon Camier (a former British Supersport and Superbike champ with extensive WSB experience) have far more humble palmares than the Hayden/Bradl duo, but must take on Kawasaki and Ducati teams that are stronger than ever. An odd position for a Red Bull sponsored team.
Here is a video highlighting early testing by Camier with the team prior to the 2018 series.
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