For the last four years, World Superbike has been a one-brand series.

Kawasaki-factory-backed Provec Racing has taken four consecutive titles and five out of the last six.

But what had become a one-horse race (if 4-time champ Jonathan Rea doesn’t mind being called a horse!) may be about to change.

Jonathan Rea at Jerez in November testing — photo courtesy of Ultimate Motorcycling.com

In the last month, BMW have announced they’ll jump back in with the new S 1000 RR, backing Shawn Muir Racing and former title-winner Tom Sykes.

All-new 2019 BMW S 1000 RR at EICMA

Ducati have give the V4 R a 2019 upgrade.

Ducati Panigale V4R — image courtesy of Ducati

And now Honda will give full factory support for the first time since 2002. They’ve selected Moriwaki Engineering and partner Althea Racing as their team.

If Honda’s less-than-stellar return to Formula 1 is any indication, jumping back into a top-flight series won’t be a turn-key deal, not even for a company with the massive resources — in the form of technology, development and money — that they have at their disposal.

2018 Honda Red Bull-Honda CBR1000RR — image courtesy of Red Bull-Honda

It’s been speculated that Honda were driven to this decision by the dismal performance of their bike in the hands of independent teams, including Red Bull Honda.

Moriwaki has apparently been prepping for a return to WSBK since 2016, getting dialed-in on the Pirelli rubber-shod CBR1000RR, including an impressive performance at this years’s Suzuka 8 Hours.

2018 Moriwaki CBR1000RR at Suzuka 8 Hours– image courtesy of Moriwaki

It may take a while for the pecking order in WSBK to change. In preseason testing in Jerez at the end of November, Jonathan Rea and his 2019 Kawasaki were quickest on both days.

But at a minimum, the factory involvement of Honda and BMW is going to give World Superbike a dose of publicity that can do nothing but help the series.

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