Here's a closer look at the new sidepanel/rear fender junction. Like the 2009-12 models, the rear fender was beefed up where you grab it to lift the bike onto a stand. The ribbed seat cover on Narita's bike features plenty of traction!
Honda technicians plugged into all of the team race bikes thoughout the day. All of the Japanese team bikes were outfitted with extensive data acquisition.
There were three machines under the factory Honda tent, but Narita's was the only full works machine. This is Yu Hirata's bike, which is based on the 2012 platform. Still, there was plenty of special stuff to be found on it.
The fuel tank on Hirata's machine was a larger-capacity aluminum unit that featured a countersunk fill cap. Several of the AMA Honda racers ran these in last year's MX Nationals. A special took is required to add fuel.
Hirata uses a factory front brake caliper, machined from billet aluminum. The part was both massive, and beautiful. It was mated to an oversized rotor, which we would estimate to be 270mm.
Yu Hirata has ridden for the Japanese factory Honda squad for many years. He was the rider who debuted the dual-exhaust CRF250R works bike in 2005, before the system went into production in 2006. Hirata is one of the only Japanese racers to wear the new Fox V4 helmet, as the domestically made Shoei and Arai helmets seem to dominate the field. "I love it!" he said of his new Fox lid.
Hirata was also stoked on his Chad Reed edition Fox goggles!
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