Is the 302R on its way out after just one year?
After much anticipation, Benelli released its 302R sportbike in April, 2021. Tipping the scales at 401 pounds and pumping out 34 horsepower, the entry-level supersport punched above its weight class. Apparently, Benelli parent company QJ Motors felt it was time for the model to moved up a category despite only being on the market for one year.
At least that’s what the latest QJ Motor patents suggest, as the firm prepares a new 400cc sportbike for the legacy Italian brand. While the potential 402R would mark a substantial upgrade for the Benelli 302R, QJ Motor already has the SRK 400 RR among its ranks. A Benelli-badged parallel-twin-powered 400cc supersport would certainly leverage that existing platform, but the patent drawings also indicate key design differences.
Gallery: Benelli 402R Patent
To maintain Benelli sportbike styling, the drawings include a similar front fairing to the 302R. With a Suzuki GSX-R-inspired central headlight cluster while the side-mounted running lights heavily resemble Yamaha YZF-R design language. The 302R may bear a dual-sided swingarm, but the patent displays a single-sided unit for some extra Italian flair. QJ Motor doesn’t just borrow cosmetic cues from other manufacturers, though.
If you’ve been following QJ Motor’s new GS400RR model, you’d know that many are characterizing the model as a Ninja 400 clone. The GS400RR may not resemble the Kawasaki in the looks department, but its 400cc parallel-twin architecture is suspiciously close to Team Green’s engine configuration. The GS400RR is also rumored to produce the same 44 horsepower achieved by Kawasaki’s mighty mill.
Unlike the Kawasaki, though, the Benelli 402R is illustrated with a USD front end. The small-capacity sportbike does meet category convention with its single front disc and four-pot caliper, on the other hand. Of course, we’ll have to wait for QJ Motor or Benelli to officially acknowledge the development of the new 400-class sportbike, but the new patent is a surprise given the 302R’s recent release.