“Many Fireblade customers ride their bikes on the racetrack, and we built the SP model for them. At the beginning of 2000, Mr Fukunaga [previous Fireblade project leader] and I considered the possibility of expanding the super-sports market. We discussed it several times and finally decided to do it.
“Customers are choosing Öhlins, Brembo and Pirelli, the same as racing teams. They know these packages and want to have them too, and we want to provide them. But the Fireblade’s aim is to provide high performance for a wide range of customers, and the standard model will keep this direction.
“We considered providing different riding modes. Three years ago Mr Fukunaga had a lot of requests, from journalists and the market. We considered it, and we are still developing it because the Fireblade’s performance level — handling, driveability — has to be near the top.
“How we maintain this level is the most difficult point for us. That is why, even with steering dampers or ABS, our system is not the same as the others. This shows Honda’s engineering spirit and pride. We need to ensure that the Fireblade is at the highest level with every single system.”
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