HRC rider Evgeny Bobryshev will make a high-profile debut with the 2017 CRF450R and Honda’s first all-new dirt bike in eight years at the Monster Energy Grand Prix of Americas in Charlotte this week.

Honda Motor Europe showed off the motorcycle for the first time at the 16th round of MXGP last Friday at Assen, Holland and HRC revealed that the Russian will race the bike in anger around the purpose-built facility in North Carolina.

An earthquake in the southern region of Japan last April, that measured over 7 on the Richter scale caused the factory that produces Honda’s off-road range to close until June. “We’ve done some testing but our chances were limited after the disaster in Kumamoto,” said HRC MXGP General Manager Roger Harvey, “but we felt it was a good idea and Bobby has felt happy with the way the laps have gone. It is an early generation of the race bike and it will go [ahead] in steps, so what we see next year will be advanced from what we see [in Charlotte].”


“The chassis and engine are completely different but it has that Honda DNA and character,” he added on the model that is the firm’s first all-new CRF450R in eight years and with a claimed 11% increase of horsepower over the ’16 edition. “A lot of work has been done in Japan and [Akira] Narita has been riding one and now Bobby feels good with it, so we’ll have a go.”

The motorcycle features a titanium fuel tank and a lower centre of gravity through the re-positioning of components like the rear shock further into the chassis. Honda also presented the CRF450RX Enduro bike that is highly derived from the new motocross creation.

The omission of Gautier Paulin from the allocation and recent tests all but confirms the departure of the Frenchman from the Honda set-up after two years but the 26-year-old will not be announced as a Rockstar Husqvarna athlete until early November.