Honda unveil British Superbike Championship line-up

LOUTH based Honda (UK) has announced its dynamic rider line-up for the 2012 British Superbike Championship, with Michael Laverty and Jon Kirkham on the CBR1000RR Fireblade in the Superbike class, joined by Gary Johnson and the returning Jason O’Halloran in the Superstock series.

The new pairing of Laverty and Kirkham provides the Honda Racing team with great fresh blood and talent, both of whom have displayed both prowess and potential in the British Superbike Championship during 2011, with the ability to excel even further.

Both O’Halloran and Johnson have a solid history with Superstock racing; TT star Johnson has been a regular front runner in both British Supersport and Superstock over the years, while O’Halloran was showing incredible promise at the start of 2011 - before injury forced him to sit out the rest of the season – and now returns fighting fit with a view to finishing what he started.

Laverty, a former British Supersport Champion and front runner in the Superbike class over recent years, said, “It is an exciting prospect for me to be joining Honda for 2012. It was unexpected and it is always a difficult decision to move teams, especially as we had such a good season this year.

“I was fortunate to have options and I have gone from one championship winning team to another; everyone knows that Honda have the history in BSB and we are really looking forward now to next season.

“I think the change with the rules has played a part in my decision to join Honda. You can see from Evo this season that the Honda chassis and engine was so strong and delivers useable power which will be so important next year. Next season for sure is going to be interesting and I think we start in a great position. The calibre of Honda and the Fireblade is high and we know we have big potential to fight for the title.”

The team’s UK based winter testing programme starts in earnest in early 2012, ahead of the first race of the season from April 7-9 at Brands Hatch.

All four riders will be out of the UK until the new year to benefit from warmer weather training or to catch up with friends and family.