With the first round of the 2005 World Superbike and Supersport championships just over three weeks away, the Dutch Ten Kate team continues pre-season testing today (1 February) at Almeria, Spain with new colours on its Honda-powered machines.
The team has been joined by Winston as title partner for the 2005 season, during which it will contest both world championships with a talented four-rider team.
Fellow Australians Chris Vermeulen and Karl Muggeridge will ride the blue Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR in the 12-round World Superbike championship. Vermeulen scored four wins on the new Honda during his debut 2004 season, taking him to fourth place in the championship.
For the World Supersport championship, the Winston Ten Kate Honda team is joined by Japanese rider Katsuaki Fujiwara and Frenchman Sébastien Charpentier. The pair will compete on Honda CBR600RRs with which Karl Muggeridge secured the 2004 World Supersport title, the Ten Kate team's third successive championship victory.
Roberto Zanni - JT International - Worldwide marketing and sales, Senior Vice-President
"JT International is preparing for its third consecutive year in world championship motorcycle racing. Following in our MotoGP tradition, we are entering the World Superbike and World Supersport championships with our global brand Winston. Through these projects with the Ten Kate team, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with Honda. With the talent and determination of our four riders - who are still on their way up, even though they have already won two world titles - we anticipate some great successes. I am certain that the motivation that has led to the creation of the Winston Ten Kate Honda project will lead our team to victory, and I take this opportunity to wish the best to our riders."
Carlo Fiorani - Honda Europe - Motorcycle racing activities Manager
"Superbike and Supersport represent the ideal formula to enhance the driving capacities of riders and to demonstrate the quality of the project of a super sport motorcycle. For these reasons Honda Europe has been supporting for years the Ten Kate team and the results have always proven us right. We think that this year the Winston Ten Kate Honda team, which has a new important sponsor, four great riders and a high quality technical support, will surely be one of the leading teams of the two championships. Good luck to Chris, Karl, Katsuaki and Sebastian and a special thank you to JT International and all of the partners which believed in the project.
Gerrit ten Kate - Winston Ten Kate Honda team owner
"Since we contested our first world championship season in 1997, Ten Kate Racing has come a very long way. With the support of Honda Europe, we have won three consecutive World Supersport championships and our first season of World Superbike in 2004 gave us four race wins and fourth place in the series. We have been working hard over the winter months to improve even further the remarkable CBR1000RR and new CBR600RR, both of which are already as close to race-ready production motorcycles as you can buy. We are absolutely delighted to welcome Winston as title partner to the team for 2005. I am convinced that this additional support will allow us to reach even higher standards of performance and professionalism in both world championships".
The three-day test at Almeria (1-3 February) will be followed by two days at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia (7-8 February), after which the team will prepare for the international launch of Winston Ten Kate Honda in the city of Milan on 15 February.