The all-new 2008 CBR1000RR (known as the Fireblade everywhere in the world but the United States) will be unveiled in just a few weeks on September 7th. Don't expect Honda to reveal key specifications like horsepower and weight until much closer to the on sale date because, as always, there are still several key competitors that Honda must be wary of. Kawasaki's all-new ZX-10R as well as a new supersport 1000 cc inline four from BMW will be breaking cover this fall. KTM will also be unveiling their 1150 cc V-twin powered RC8 at the EICMA show in Milan. Industry buzz points to all of the aforementioned motorcycles joining the World Superbike championship in 2009.
The 2008 CBR1000RR is most certainly going to have another inline 4 cylinder engine, as evidenced by a patent filed for the Moto GP-style exhaust discovered by MCN.
Exhaust Patent Filed by Honda for the 1000RR
The move to the Moto GP-style exhaust reveals a few things about the forthcoming 1000RR. For one, a shorter exhaust will save weight over the undertail exhaust previous employed on the 1000RR. It will also serve to centralize the weight of the motorcycle, which follows the mass centralization paradigm that Honda has been using for the last several years.
One could also surmise (or hope) that the 1000RR will look significantly different than it's little brother, the 600RR. If there is any criticism that could be levied against the styling of the previous 600RR and 1000RR it would be that the two motorcycles looked all but identical to the casual eye.
Speaking of World Superbike, a rumor that has been gaining steam is that Honda is developing a successor to the cult-favorite and racing icon RC51. Internet hearsay suggests that the RC61 will be a 1200 cc v-twin designed to compete toe-to-toe with the forthcoming Ducati 1098R in the various superbike championships around the world.
It doesn't seem to make very much sense for Honda to develop an all-new bike to contest WSBK when the 1000RR has proven to be a worthy platform for the task and Honda has publicly stated that they are staking their 2008 superbike hopes on the 1000RR. By running the mass-produced 1000RR Honda saves significant money and achieves the coveted goal of 'win on Sunday, sell on Monday'. A 1200 cc RC61 could very well be a strong seller for Honda but it may also cannibalize 1000RR sales. However, maybe Honda has made a 1200 cc bike as a sort of 'ace-in-the-hole' should the new Ducati 1098R or the forthcoming KTM RC8 prove to be too strong for the 1000RR.
For my money a few other possibilities could be:
The RC61 is not a RC51 successor at all. Note that the Interceptor carries the 'RC46' moniker and the Interceptor is way overdue for a redesign. It could just be that the new prototype bike that some may have spotted is the next gen Interceptor.
The other more tantalizing possibility is that the RC61 is the V5 superbike that has been rumored for some time. Perhaps it will be a technological high-performance showcase like the NR750 was. In the case of the NR750, it was also known as the RC40.
Whatever the truth behind the rumors is, it seems almost certain that Honda is cooking up something.