Honda Racing has re-signed both Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran for the 2018 MCE British Superbike championship as part of its commitment to consistency with the new Fireblade.
O’Halloran secured his second consecutive BSB Showdown spot this season for Honda while Linfoot also impressed by bagging his and the new Fireblade’s maiden BSB wins after narrowly missing out on a fourth straight BSB Showdown place.
Aiming to build upon its development year with the CBR1000RR SP2, the Louth-based squad has retained both Linfoot and O’Halloran together as part of the team’s aim for consistency after a challenging debut for the new Honda Superbike.
Honda Racing team manager Havier Beltran is thrilled to re-sign both riders with thoughts and preparations already focused on 2018 and a first winter test in Jerez before the end of the year.
“It’s great to have Dan and Jason back with Honda Racing for another year, 2018 will be Dan’s fourth consecutive year with us and for Jason, well he’s pretty much part of the furniture now, having been with Honda UK for eight years and 11 years as an official Honda rider,” Beltran said. “For us I feel that consistency is the key and especially after this year with the all-new Fireblade and the development and hard work everyone has put in.
“With what we know now and an extensive testing programme ahead of us, I am feeling quietly confident ahead of the 2018 season. This year did have its highs and lows for us, but taking the positives Jason secured a place in the all-important Showdown finishing the season fifth and Dan finally scored his first race win, and then followed up with another win.
“I’m looking forward to next year and continuing the development of the Fireblade in order for Honda Racing to maximise its full potential.”
Linfoot is naturally thrilled to stay at Honda for a fourth consecutive BSB campaign and having found rewards for his efforts improving the new Fireblade with two wins late in the 2017 season the British rider is relishing the new season.
“Consistency is what I have always wanted with a team and the ability to build on the previous years results and this is what I have been able to do with Honda,” Linfoot said. “We spent this year developing the all-new Fireblade and all the hard work paid off during the final part of the year when I was rewarded with my first race win – I waited so long for a win and then a second one comes along the week after!
“It was a great feeling to get that win and also to claim the first BSB win for the new Blade. I’ve really enjoyed being part of the development for the new machine this year and yes at times, it wasn’t easy but we learnt a lot and developed so much, so it’s mega to now go into the 2018 BSB season with the information we have from this year, and be able to build on that.
“We’ve got a test coming up in a few weeks time, which is great news for myself and Jason, so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running in the New Year and look to be in the 2018 Showdown fighting at the top and for the championship.”
With consistency secured in a new deal at Honda, O’Halloran is now aiming to deliver steady results in 2018 after a number of “ups and downs in 2017”.
“I’m really pleased to be staying with Honda Racing for 2018; I have been with Honda for a long time now so it’s good to be continuing for another year,” O’Halloran said. “2017 was a good year but it did have its ups and downs with the new Fireblade and the development work throughout the season, so our consistency wasn’t to the level I would have liked, but we worked hard throughout to improve all the time.
“Finishing the season how we did at Brands Hatch in second place, was a nice way to finish the season – we had the fastest lap of the race and was just half a second off the win – so I know that from the start of next year we can be competitive from the first round. We have a good testing programme coming up, which starts at Jerez in a few weeks time, which I am really looking forward to.
“I know 2018 will be a stronger year for myself, Dan and also Honda as we can continue from what we have learnt and developed this year. We made it to the Showdown, collected some podiums and finished 2017 on a high, so we just need to step it up another gear now and really challenge for the championship next season.
“We’re going to give 2018 everything we have, go into the season on a positive note and look forward to having a strong year.”