When Honda released the 2017 Honda CBR1000RR at the Intermot show in Cologne, Germany, in October, it sent a clear signal to the superbike world that it was intent on bringing the fight to the boys in black and green. In a surprise showing at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC), proudly on display was the new model, in the flesh, as it were.

Singularly even more striking in real life, the new CBR1000RR exudes a sense of sleek purpose with straight, clean fairing lines and minimalist LED headlights. As per Honda’s promise, this top-of-the-line superbike has been slimmed down somewhat from the outgoing model.

Carrying a 999 cc DOHC inline-four, the new model puts out 189 hp at 13,000 rpm and 116 Nm of torque at 11,000 rpm. While this pales, somewhat, to the 197 hp (205 with ram-air) of its prime rival, the 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R, the CBR1000RR does weigh a claimed 195 kg wet, compared to the 206 kg from the ZX-10R; it also has more torque compared to the Kawasaki’s 113 Nm.

As dressed in Honda Racing Corporation colours of red, white and blue, the new CBR1000RR comes with all the prime goodies we expect from a machine of this calibre – Brembo radial calipers and gyroscope-based ABS handle the braking, while Ohlins Smart-EC looks after the bouncy bits with its electronic semi-active suspension.

A full suite of electronic aids comes with the 2017 model, including nine-level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC, includes slide and wheelie control), Selectable Engine Brake (SEB) and Riding Mode Select System (RMSS). De rigeur for all racing and sports-oriented machines these days is a quickshifter – fitted as standard – with three setting for the downshift mode.

Boon Siew Honda has declined to comment if they will be bringing in the new CBR1000RR officially, and from previous experience, it is unlikely that it will do so. Local market rival, the 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R, retails for RM104,859.