As if the stealthy testing colours of Nicky Hayden and Steffi Bradl’s 2017 Fireblade SP2 weren’t sexy enough, the Ten Kate team has just unveiled its racing stripes for this season at Red Bull’s Hangar-7 facility in Salzburg. Why? Because the Austrian energy drink giants have become title sponsors of Honda’s official World Superbike Team, breaking the internet today with motorised fifth way before the watershed.
Hosted by Huddersfield’s favourite, Matthew Roberts, the covers came off Hayden and Bradl’s Red Bull Honda steeds as media, sponsors and Dorna reps looked on, joining thousands of fans worldwide who watched a live stream. Although major players of sponsorship for decades, this is the first time Red Bull enters the WSBK paddock as title partner.
Sexy bikes aside, Red Bull’s new association with WSBK is a massive deal and can only be a good thing for the sport, particularly WSBK that’s suffered in recent years. Extra manufacturer attendance, fresh bikes, and a deluge of ex-MotoGP riders into the series should ensure 2017 is a more entertaining watch. And, given Red Bull presence and pulling power, there’s also the prospect of the Red Bull Ring hosting a WSBK round, which could and should replace the utter shithole that is Lausitzring (or LousyShitRing as it’s known to many).