First Look at the 2012 Honda MotoGP Race Bike

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While we were busy filing our taxes last week, HRC was busy at the Suzuka circuit shaking out its yet-to-be-named 2012 MotoGP race bike. Details are a bit sparse, but is reporting that HRC test riders Kousuke Akiyoshi and Tady Okada were at the helm of the new bike, and the website shows a solitary photo that craftily doesn’t give away too much about the machine. The private test is a prelude to Honda’s factory riders hopping on the machine to likely greater media fanfare, which will most likely happen at the MotoGP test scheduled after the Mugello round.

The lack of fanfare and information is fairly typical from the Japanese manufacturer, and stark contrast to its Italian racing rival Ducati, who launched its GP12 with a three-day media circus. With a strong early showing in the 2012 MotoGP World Championship, Honda probably does not feel the same pressure as Ducati in having to shift the spotlight from the currently ailing GP program to the hopes of a new generation, in the form of the Ducati Desmosedici GP12.

With the 81mm bore restriction and 21L fuel limit, it will be interesting to see if Honda uses the full 1,000cc displacement limit, or if the company will run a ~900cc machine. There’s already speculation brewing that the Ducati GP12 will run smaller displacement, with Yamaha’s plans an even more closely guarded secret. While the fate of Suzuki’s 2012 MotoGP season are seemingly still up in the air, we should get our first glimpse of 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1 at the Mugello test.