Honda has entered the street legal superbike race with a race replica retailing for an eye-popping $184,000.
Later this year, the company will start selling a limited run of its RC213V-S -- the consumer edition of the production motorcycle that Marc Marquez has raced to two world championships.
Honda's announcement follows the unveilings of the Ducati Panigale R, BMW's HP4, the Kawasaki H2R and the Yamaha R1M -- all of them street versions of successful track bikes.
It's much too soon to say whether the Honda will be a better or faster machine than any of those mighty motorcycles. But it will be the most expensive of the lot.
"For a long time people have been demanding a street-legal version of the RCV," said Lee Edmunds, manager of motorcycle marketing communications at American Honda. "So our engineers set out to build what is basically a MotoGP bike with a headlight and turn signals."
Versions sold in the U.S., because of emissions and other regulations, will not be as powerful as the 235-horsepower motorcycle ridden by Marquez. The U.S. RC213V-S will make only 101 horsepower.
There will be a kit on the market, Honda said, that will boost the horsepower to about 215, but that kit cannot be fitted to the U.S. machines.
Honda has not said how many RC213V-S bikes it will sell in the U.S. or elsewhere, though one Honda executive said he expected the number to be less than 250 units a year.
The bikes will be built, and hand-assembled, to order -- once orders start being accepted on July 12. First deliveries are expected to be in the fall.
First unveiled in prototype form in Milan last November at the annual EICMA motorcycle show, the RC213V-S will be powered by a V-4 999cc engine. The racer uses aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber to keep its weight low. The street version, like the race version, will include those materials and feature Marchesini wheels, Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes and other high-end components.