Honda, are you listening?
Well, here we go again. Another season of WSBK and US Superbike racing without a factory Honda team or an RC-anything in site. We have a couple of Ten Kate Honda's in WSBK, not fighting for the lead, and no Honda's at all in AMA "Superbike".
A big part of this situation is a result of the decision by Honda to keep offering only its "everyman's liter bike", the CBR1000/Firedblade as a Superbike platform. Honda has won six WSBK titles, and five of those were on "RC" bikes; Two on the RC30, one on the RC45, two on the RC51... and one on the 'Blade. And the 'Blade won only at the hands of a hyper-motivated J. Toseland in one of the few seasons when Ducati had to race 1000 V-twins against 1000 fours. And those days are over.
The 'Blade has little in common with the RC's before it. They were purpose-built to win races, and had V-4 or V-twin engines. The 'Blade has much more in common with the Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki fours... mass-produced in-line four street-bikes, and like the 'Blade each has won a grand total of ONE WSBK championship in 30 years of trying.
I have nothing against the 'Blade as a street bike; until the past year or two when Kawi and Yamaha added traction control to their machines it would have been a contender for my money if I needed a liter bike for street use. But for serious canyon carving, track-day fun or club racing, why bring a knife to a gun-fight? And who would NOT want traction control on a 160HP motorcycle?
So come on Honda, show the world you still care about Superbike racing. Build an RC something... a V-4 1000 or a V-Twin 1200, that will be a bike we still want to own ten years after the glory. (Personally, I would take the twin, and you can then leverage that investment by using the engine in a kick-ass Sport-Touring bike.) Besides, is there any doubt now that the 1200 V-twin is the superior plaform for racing, or that WSBK management will always ensure that V-twins (ie Ducati) are always competitive?