As we mentioned in an earlier article, MD has been invited along with other members of the press (Cycle World, et al.) to ride the U.S.-spec Honda RC51 at the Laguna Seca, California press introduction during the third week of February, 2000.
For now, you must be satisfied with press reports regarding prototypes and race-kitted machines. Two of those reports, appearing in Britain’s Motorcycle News and Cycle News here in the United States seem conflicting on important points. Journalists reporting for both publications apparently rode a race-kitted RC51 (known as the SP-1 elsewhere in the world).
Interestingly, one journalist complained about abrupt throttle response from a poorly tuned fuel injection system, while the other described a smooth throttle response from a well adjusted fuel injection system.
One journalist complained about a harsh and poorly set-up rear suspension system, while the other didn’t have this complaint.
The basic chassis of the RC51 is apparently quite good, however, and this is the important point. Both journalists described the feel of the bike as being light and flickable, yet stable. In race trim, the RC51 is still down on power compared to the long-developed Ducati 996, but Honda is working furiously to close the gap.
While all of this is interesting, and Honda undoubtedly hopes to win on the RC51 during its maiden season, what is most important to you is the quality and performance of the production bike. We hope to be the first to tell you exactly what to expect from the production bike.