Emmet O’Grady has already set his sights on next season’s Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship and has unveiled a new machine which he hopes will take him to another title.
The Tralee racer contested last weekend’s opening Master’s event at Mondello Park in County Kildare on board his 2018 spec Honda Fireblade.
It may have been a disappointing meeting for O’Grady as he could only manage a brace of fifth places and two sevenths over the four-race event.
These results are far from the high standards the 2018 Masters Supersport champion sets for himself but he does have a plan up his sleeve.
Last weekend got underway with a test session at Mondello on Friday. This was organised to allow racers, many who had not seen competitive action since this time last year, to prepare for the four races on Saturday and Sunday.
In the run-up to the meeting, O’Grady took delivery of a new Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
It is a very special bike –one O’Grady hopes will bring him back to winning ways – and it is not available to just anyone.
Honda’s own sales pitch sets the tone.
“It is the best of the best, the most exclusive, feature-rich open-class sportbike Honda has ever built under the CBR banner. The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is street legal, but track-ready,” says Honda.
“Offering a degree of performance and refinement you’ve likely never experience – unless you’ve had a factory ride. Available to only a handful of lucky riders. And it still offers Honda’s famous CBR refinement, build quality and rideability. Get ready to find out why world champions like Marc Márquez ride red.”
The bike was very much in showroom trim when O’Grady rode it for the first time on Friday and while it still needs additional preparation over the winter, including adding race suspensions and body fairings, he was very impressed straight out of the box.
“It has a new engine configuration, it is a lot lighter [than my current bike] and easier to handle,” he told Kerry Motorsport News. “It has around 30BHP more than my current bike.”
O’Grady will tackle the 2021 Dunlop Masters Series and the Irish (Northern Ireland) championship.
He is also considering a crack at the British Superstock 1000 series which runs alongside the prestigious British Superbike Championship.
British rider Tom Neave is using a similar machine in this year’s BSB and is currently second in the class standings after seven of ten rounds.
Neave has taken three outright wins so far this season.