A few weeks ago, we heard rumors that a pre-production 2018 Honda CRF250R would be raced at the third round of the All Japan National MX Championship Series, held at Green Park Korakuen near Hiroshima, Japan. Traditionally, we get our first peek at future production machines at the series opener in April, but the all-new CRF is said to be scheduled to make only one racing appearance before it hits showroom floors around the world. Furthermore, with no official Honda HRC effort in the IA2 (250cc) class in 2017, there was no team rider available to race it full time. For the new bike’s trial-by-fire at Hiroshima, HRC Team Advisor Takeshi Katsuya was recruited to return to action after retiring from professional racing several years ago. A four-time IA2 Champion, the 37-year-old racer certainly has the experience to test the bike in race conditions, and he gave the bike a winning debut by sweeping both motos in convincing fashion.
The bike Katsuya raced is reported to be a very accurate pre-production model. The bike has the same new chassis that graces the 2017 CRF450R, and inside it is a completely redesigned powerplant that has a twincam head, true dual exhaust pipes that route down both sides of the engine, electric start, and Showa suspension components. Katsuya told us that though the bike has less low-end power than the bike it replaces, it has much more mid-range and a ton more power and overrev on top. Though the bike was basically “stock,” it looked plenty competitive against the highly modified machines it led across the finish line in both motos.
Last week, American Honda released details about the 2018 CRF150R and CRF450R, but details about the CRF250R were conspicuously absent. Having seen the all-new bike in action, we can’t tell you how excited we are to throw a leg over it when it hits production in the coming months.
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