Hero MotoCorp will support the Erik Buell Racing effort in 2012, sponsoring both Danny Eslick and Geoff May (above).
American sportbike designer Erik Buell has struck up a surprising new partnership. Buell’s latest venture, Erik Buell Racing (EBR), has entered into a strategic partnership with Hero MotoCorp – the largest motorcycle manufacturer in India. Hero will sponsor EBR’s American SuperBike racing effort, while Buell will lend his design skills to Hero for new model development.
Hero’s backing ensures funding for EBR’s 2012 AMA Pro Racing racing program, with the opening round next month at Daytona International Speedway. Hero will sponsor both EBR 1190RS American SuperBike entries, with newly signed Danny Eslick campaigning aboard a Team Hero branded bike, while returning EBR pilot Geoff May will ride an AMSOIL Hero branded mount.
Hero MotoCorp was formerly known as Hero Honda, a joint venture company with the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. In December 2010 Honda announced it would divest its 26% interest in the JV and focus instead on its wholly owned Indian subsidiary Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI). The partnership with Erik Buell helps fulfill Hero’s need for R&D assistance, as dissolution of the JV removed technical input from Big Red (though terms of the split allow Hero to sell some Honda developed product under license).
“The Indian two-wheeler industry is set to evolve and it is only natural that as the market leader, we are driving this change,” said Hero CEO Pawan Munjal in a company statement. “As a part of this plan, Erik is going to play an integral role in giving shape to some of my dream two-wheelers for the discerning youth of today. So my R&D team and Erik’s team together have made some definitive progress in this direction, and we will hopefully be putting a few scorchers on the roads soon.”
Said Buell in the announcement: ““EBR is delighted to partner with a company as iconic as Hero MotoCorp. Both HMCL and EBR share the common commitment to manufacturing world-class two-wheelers with technology of the future. I have personally been deeply impressed with and inspired by Pawan’s vision. He has given us a challenging brief, and our highly-motivated team is working towards giving shape to that dream. We look forward to designing technology solutions which are in line with contemporary global standards and also futuristic in their appeal and utility.”