HONDA IS TO debut a cleansheet CBR1000RR Fireblade later this year that, according to our sources in Japan, will put it back on top in the horsepower stakes. And they claim Honda won’t be using a MotoGP-derived V4 engine to do this but a powered-up in-line four-cylinder.
As with the current model, expect the ’Blade to be offered in more than one specification, including ‘SP1’ and ‘SP2’ variants. The latter is likely to get a complete carbon-fibre fairing and titanium exhaust
Our sources say prototypes of the 2019 ’Blade are already under test and, while details of exactly what’s been done to the engine remain secret, power is said to be up to 158kW. That would put it on par with the Ducati Panigale V4, which is fitted with a 1103cc engine compared to its rivals’ 1000cc fours.
For years now, the CBR1000RR Fireblade has lagged in the outright horsepower stakes. The current model was much improved in 2017, but with a peak power of 141kW at 13,000rpm it’s still behind its main rivals from Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, BMW and horsepower king Ducati.
The powerful new engine dictates a new chassis, and our ears and eyes in Japan say if you want a taste of how it will look, look no farther than Honda’s current CBR600RR. Our computer-generated images are based on the information we’ve uncovered so far. Japanese sources say the Fireblade is so far advanced in development that its unveiling has been pencilled in for November’s EICMA show in Milan.