If you’re looking to kick things up a gear this year, then you’re in luck because this is a bumper season for big new Sportsbikes and Supersport motorcycle launches in 2023.
Eagerly anticipated new arrivals include the Kawasaki ZX-4RR, the BMW S 1000 RR and M 1000 RR siblings, plus a refreshed Ducati Panigale V4 R too.
Whether you’re just starting out, seeking a track day weapon or just need a bit more adrenaline in your life, there is something for everyone on the way in 2023.
Find out if any of this new and upcoming selection of 2023 Sportsbikes and Supersports tickle your fancy…
We always want what we can’t have and that was most certainly the case for us over here in emissions-restricted Europe when the Kawasaki ZX-25R was launched over in Japan.
A welcome return for the hallowed four-pot sportsbike ‘screamer’ after years of steady decline in the segment, alas the ZX-25R in its original form just kicked out a few too many emissions to be considered for import here.
However, as it turns out, Kawasaki must have sensed our yearning because it has subsequently responded with a Euro5-friendly version, the Kawasaki ZX-4R.
Moreover, after replacing the original 250cc four-pot with a more efficient 399cc unit, Kawasaki has gone to the effort of making it more potent than its sibling, upping power from 50bhp to 76bhp via an audibly irresistible 15,000rpm red line.
The four-cylinder, small capacity, high power combination means the ZX-4R occupies a fairly lonely place in the market but it should be considered relative to the larger, but more docile Yamaha R7 and the faster, but similarly racing-themed Aprilia RS 660.
Against the R7, the Kawasaki ZX-4R - which hits the road in the autumn with prices starting at £7,799 - is more than £1k cheaper than the Yamaha, while the RS 660 is more powerful (100bhp) but commands a premium of almost £2k.
The second generation BMW S 1000 RR gets a significant mid-life update in an effort to arm itself against new competition from Ducati and ahead of anticipated replacements for the Yamaha R1 and Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Having cultivated a reputation as the thinking man’s sportsbike, proving arguably the most compliant machine in its class to own and use every day, BMW has used the facelift to inject a bit more sporting edge into the S 1000 RR.
We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the tweaked design - with its new winglets, pinched snout and blunter tail-end - is an improvement (we’re not convinced), but the S 1000 RR gains a couple more ponies to push power output to 210bhp, while it gains some goodies first trialled on its more extreme brother, the M 1000 RR.
This has seen BMW introduce a new aluminium bridge frame for greater packaging and flexibility, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) with ‘Slide Control’ function and the inclusion of its M Power kit - formerly an option, now standard - which features an adjustable pivot swingarm.
If the S 1000 RR is just too tame for you, then how about its high-tech, super honed ‘hypersports’ brother, the BMW M 1000 RR.
Updated alongside the S 1000 RR, the latest M 1000 RR - the first model in the BMW Motorrad range to wear the firm’s iconic ‘M’ prefix - may have been developed with the specific intention of tasting success on the track, but it’s also a technical tour de force for those who can stretch to the wincing £30,940 price tag.
Though the bench-platform wings won’t be to everyone’s taste, they indicate the lengths BMW has gone to glue the M 1000 RR to the road, with the firm quoting 22.6kg more downforce above 300km/h (186mph).
Marginally more powerful than the S 1000 RR (212bhp, up from 210bhp), the M 1000 RR also features aero-efficient wheel covers and upgraded brakes, while it even comes with Launch Control and a Pit-Lane Speed Limiter, demonstrating precisely which audience BMW is targeting.
Together with cornering traction control, wheelie control, adjustable throttle characteristics, three engine brake settings and an up/down quickshifter that can be reversed for track use, the BMW M 1000 RR may be legal for the road, but its home is very much on track.
The ultimate WorldSBK racer-for-the-road, the Ducati Panigale V4 R consolidates its status as possibly the closest thing you’ll get to feeling like a proper professional sportsman without the hard graft and daily gym routines.
Having started life as a WorldSBK machine before Ducati then worked backwards to make it usable on the road, the second generation Panigale V4 R blurs the boundaries furthermore with several well-judged upgrades - longer gear ratios that mirror those of the WorldSBK version, more revs (16,500rpm), gun drilled titanium con rods and revised Ohlins NPX25/30 suspension - making the 998cc Desmosecdci Stradale R V4 engined Panigale more beastly than ever.
While the standard V4 R has dropped a smidgeon of power (218bhp) to help it meet emissions regulations, add the Akrapovic racing exhaust and it jumps to a skin-peeling 237bhp, rising yet further to 240bhp if you use the correct type of Shell lubricant.
At £38,995, the Ducati Panigale V4 R isn’t for the thrifty, but if you have plenty of disposable income, there are few ways to enjoy more fun on two wheels.
While we wait ever so patiently for a brand-new MV Agusta F4 to appear, the Italian firm has given its ultra-desirable retro-flavoured Superveloce sportsbike a welcome power boost, with the MV Agusta Superveloce 1000 Serie Oro set to land later in the year.
Sacrificing some of the 800cc version’s elegance for an edgier finish, the Superveloce 1000 looks all the better for it, from the more chiselled, aero-enforced portholed nose, winglets, small tail-fin and possibly the most beautiful rendition of underseat exhausts - courtesy of Arrow - we’ve ever seen.
Sitting on sportier, tapered-spoke wheels, the Superveloce 1000 is based on the Brutale 1000 hypernaked, ensuring meaty performance from its 200bhp 998cc inline-four engine, while MV quotes 39.2kg of extra downforce at 199mph.
Prices are yet to be confirmed, but are expected to float around the rather exclusive £50,000 mark.
Since John McGuinness and Honda go together like fish and chips, it was great to see the legendary Isle of Man TT combination back in sweet harmony again during last year’s event.
Having achieved the vast majority of his 23 TT wins on Honda machinery and the 2022 Isle of Man TT marking his 100th TT start, it’s only right that there is a special edition Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP to toast that success.
Emblazoned with the special gold-themed livery that McGuinness campaigned on ‘The Mountain’, each example comes with an airbox cover signed by the man himself and an individually numbered plaque on the headstock.
Only 30 examples - priced at £30,000 - will be made.
While rumours suggest an all-new generation Yamaha R1 is only a year or so away now, the Japanese firm is keeping its venerable flagship sportsbike sharp with a Genuine Yamaha Racing Technology - or GYTR to you and me - upgrade.
Drawing inspiration from its WorldSBK, BSB and MotoAmerica title-winning race bike, the track-only Yamaha R1 GYTR targets customer racers and racers-to-be with its upgraded gearbox, engine, drive system and bodywork, plus 43mm KYB forks and lighter aluminium fuel tank.
In terms of power and torque, you’ll need to get to the stage of purchase to find out - Yamaha clearly eager to keep its rivals guessing - but if you’re after a track day plaything, at £25,000, it is cheaper than the equivalent BMW M 1000 RR and matches the Kawasaki ZX-10RR
The quintessential British sportsbike is back!
With the formerly beleaguered company now under new management - complete with far stricter quality control standards - the Norton V4 SV certainly feels a more premium product once again, though at £44,000 this should be a given.
Otherwise, the 1200cc machine does make you feel special, though it also feels its age next to more technologically-advanced and sophisticated sportsbike rivals.
Nevertheless, the feathery 193kg kerb weight helps to compensate for the less-powerful-than-rivals 185bhp output, plus the V4SV is still a hoot to ride.
And besides, no matter how good its rivals are, none will make you feel as effervescent as you will on a Norton.
Motorcycles don’t get more extreme - or as pricey - as the new Aston Martin AMB001 Pro, the Anglo-French limited run sportsbike earning status as THE most expensive motorcycle in the world at - wait for it… - €148,900 (around £128,000).
The second iteration of the AMB001 sportsbike from British sportscar makers Aston Martin and collaborating partners Brough Superior, the AMB001 Pro has been switched up from lavishly-appointed machione to an all-out track day weapon boasting 225hp and weighing in at only 175kg, giving it a 1.28hp per kg power-to-weight ratio.
Cloaked in a carbon fibre bodywork - which pops in its lurid yellow/green fluorescent colour scheme - while the design itself is a touch divisive, with only 88 examples of the track-only AMB001 Pro being made, it’ll certainly be exclusive
The Aprilia RS 660 celebrates becoming Europe’s best-selling sportsbike with the launch of a new racier flagship variant, the Aprilia RS 660 Extrema.
Winning over many with its lightweight and nimble chassis, while the RS 660 gives away ponies to rivals in the middleweight sportsbike class, Aprilia proves less can sometimes mean more when hustling through twisty stretches.
With the RS 660 Extrema, Aprilia has hammered home the point with the addition of an SC Project exhaust, lighter carbon components and racing-style single-seater configuration, all finished in a unique silver base colourway with chequered flag-style decals.
The pint-size Yamaha R125 receives a long overdue facelift for 2023, which sees it brought further into line with its ‘R’ badged siblings.
That means the styling has been overhauled to mirror the design direction showcased on the larger R7, with a single LED spotlight poking out of the hollow-nose and flanked by slender headlights.
As ever, the rest of the R125 sends mini-R1 vibes - an approach that has made the machine so perennially popular over the years - and utilises its floaty 144kg kerb weight with dynamics enhanced by 41mm upside-down front forks and traction control.
Together with the addition of Yamaha’s 5” TFT dashboard for this model year, the Yamaha R125 remains the benchmark in the learner legal 125cc sportsbike space.
This year should see the long-awaited (and belated) launch of the Damon HyperSport, one of the more intriguing electric models to surface in recent years.
The ambitious product of a Canadian company that originally set out to partner with mainstream manufacturers to integrate its 360-degree radar safety system, the hard sell prompted Damon to instead develop its own motorcycle and equip it with the device instead. The result is the Damon HyperSport, the first premium sportsbike to be powered by electricity.
While the decision to make it an EV came later, the HyperSport boasts some enticing performance figures with the top of the range HS and Premier trims utilising a 200bhp, 20kWh battery to hit 200mph and 0-60 in less than three seconds, all while managing a range of 200 miles. A more affordable 11kWh version comes with 100bhp too.
Together with smart innovations like the ‘Shift’ function - which allows you to move the footpegs and handlebar for a naked-style upright riding position or a more crouched one - and the HyperSport piques our curiosity on paper… let’s hope it lives up to the ‘hype’ when we get our hands on it.
China’s invasion of Europe continues to gain momentum with the latest firm - Kove - seemingly poised to be the next in line to prove our friends in the East can measure with the best in the West.
While its background has been in dirt bikes, Kove - owned by the catchily titled Tibet New Summit Motorcycle Company - has recently moved into the ADV arena too.
However, its most exciting offering is this, the Kove 400RR, which joins the Kawasaki ZX-4R in reviving the low capacity, screaming four-cylinder sportsbike.
It’s certainly a quirky looking model, with a front-end resembling somewhere between the Ducati MotoGP bike and a dustbuster, but it packs a punch under the skin with 67bhp from its 399cc engine, making it comfortably quicker than the Honda CBR500R and not far off the ZX-4R.
For now, the Kove 400RR is not confirmed to be coming to the UK, but its international aspirations are demonstrated by its intention to enter the WorldSSP 300 Championship this year with the smaller 321RR.
Launch: Mid-2024 (est)
Having teased and tempted us with the exclusive, track-only RC 8C - a limited run middleweight sportsbike based on the running gear of its former Moto2 prototype - KTM will make its official roadgoing return to the large sportsbike space with the KTM RC 990.
Spy shots - more of which you can view here - show a porthole-inspired nose configuration and aggressively sharp air-intake on the fairing.
Expect to see the production version appear before the end of the year, ahead of a 2024 launch date.
Launch: 2024 (est)
We’ve had the CB750 Hornet and the XL750 Transalp, now attention turns to what other models will spin-off from the all-new Honda 750cc platform.
The smart money is on a Honda CBR750RR sportsbike (unofficial 2020 render pictured), a new middleweight contender to replace the ageing CBR600R and revive memories of the discontinued CBR600RR.
While Honda itself won’t be drawn on whether it is indeed heading back into the segment - which is growing again after years of steady decline - but its surprise reappearance in the WorldSSP Championship this year suggests something is cooking…
Launch: 2025 (est)
A model that has been circulating on the rumour mill for a long time now, to date there has been no sign of the Yamaha R9 beyond the odd patent and name trademark.
Even so, few doubt an R9 (as pictured in render above) using the triple-cylinder CP3 engine from the MT-09 is in the works to sit above the decidedly tepid R7 and give Yamaha a more potent mid-size sportsbike contender following the demise of the R6.
Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, it would also give Yamaha the space to up the power on the next generation R1, another model we could potentially catch sight of in the next 12 months.
Launch: 2024 (est)
The Benelli Tornado could be on the verge of a big comeback in 1000cc trim based on these spy shots captured in China, where a large sportsbike is being developed by company owners QJMotor.
Last seen over here adorning a triple-cylinder sportsbike around a decade ago, while that model was quietly discontinued without a successor, the Tornado name is still going strong on a range of lower capacity Benellis in Asia.
The model seen here is referred to as a QJ Motor model - labelled the ‘1000RR’ - but we’d guess-timate that this is in fact a Benelli, judging by that very trademark green colour swatch.
Regardless, whatever name it wears, the excitement builds under the very BMW S 1000 RR-imitation skin, with MV Agusta supplying its 1000cc engine. That should take it over 200bhp, while that single-sided swingarm and stylised exhaust set-up offer up plenty of Brutale-esque vibes.
Launch: 2025 (est)
CFMoto continues to develop momentum on the new model front, with latest rumours suggesting it is planning an entry into the 1000cc-plus sportsbike segment… a V4-engined one at that.
Having set the platform for its move into sportsbikes with the 250SR/300SR and the recently launched 450SR, the ‘1000SR’ or ‘V4SR’ as we’ll refer to it represents an ambitious step up in objective for the Chinese firm, prompting rumours it could follow up its involvement in Moto3 by going for glory in WorldSBK too.
And while we only have nondescript patent drawings for proof of what is incoming, CFMoto could do a lot worse than simply squeeze the V4 into an unchanged version of the striking SR-C21 concept [pictured] revealed in 2021.
Launch: 2025 (est)
While the less said about the awkward-looking, pedestrian Zero SR/S electric sportsbike is probably for the better, the American firm’s recently revealed SR/X concept has gotten us a lot more excited about its potential successor.
indeed , though Zero has nailed the EV format long before mainstream rivals have even begun project meetings about electric power, its current range does so without much aesthetic desirability.
This could all change with the Zero SR/X though, a collaboration between the Californian company and Huge Design, with its chunky, half-faired design leaning into a design direction best described as ‘Tron’.