Malaysian motorcyclists as well as Honda fans have been waiting impatiently for the twin cylinder Honda CBR250RR to make its debut in the local 250cc segment. 4 years on and there’s no still no confirmation of its local availability by Malaysian importer/franchise holder, Boon Siew Honda (BSH).
So when the first unit of the 2019 Honda CBR250RR in Malaysian soil was unveiled today alongside a pair of its homologated racing variants at Sepang Circuit in conjunction with Round 6 of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC), the motorcycle caught the attention of the media more than the newly-launched Honda racing team itself.
The added attention is to be expected, as the Honda CBR250RR remains the only twin-cylinder quarter-liter motorcycle that’s yet to be made available for the global market. At present, it is only available in Indonesia, Japan and Thailand, due to its Euro3 emission standard.
However, it is noted that the Honda CBR250RR is only specified as a Euro3 specs machine for the Indonesian market, where it is manufactured by Astra Honda. The variants being sold in Japan and Thailand are of the Euro4 category, and are assembled in the former, with the surplus units exported to the latter.
Meanwhile, the new racing team, known as the Idemitsu Boon Siew Honda Racing, has both BSH and Idemitsu Lubricants Malaysia (ILM) teaming up with the aim to develop the third phase of Malaysian riders to compete on the global stage. The new team’s full season debut is scheduled for Year 2020. However, with the sixth leg of the 2019 ARRC season being held this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit, the team had decided to compete as a wildcard entry with homeground advantage.
“The Asia Production 250cc class was added to the Asia Road Racing Championship roster in 2015. To date, the class had been dominated by Thai and Indonesian riders. However, we know that, given the calibre of Malaysian riders, they should be challenging for the title in every single season. After all, the Malaysian riders are dominant in every other category of the ARRC (ASB1000, SuperSports 600cc, and Underbone 150cc), except the 250cc class. By establishing our own factory outfit in the class, we take on the mission of changing the balance of power in this popular category,” said Keiichi Yasuda, MD and CEO of Boon Siew Honda Sdn Bhd.
For the purpose of this wildcard entry, Team Idemitsu Boon Siew Honda Racing will be fielding two upcoming young Malaysian riders – Muhammad Syarifuddin Azman and Muhammad Idlan Haqimi Raduan. The riders will be competing astride the Honda CBR250RR.
“I am both excited and nervous about this wildcard. The AP250 class is not an easy class to debut in. There are a lot of strong and aggressive riders on the grid,” said the 18-year-old Syarifuddin who stole the limelight as the Yamaha PETRONAS Super Series champion in 2016 and most recently won the 2018 Wira title with team Idemitsu Kozi Yam Honda Racing. Likewise, 15-year-old Muhammad Idlan was the 2018 Honda One Make Challenge champion. Both riders had been placed on Honda’s accelerated talent development path that had succeeded in creating world-class Malaysian riders like Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi, Khairul Idham Pawi, and Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman.