World Superbike squad to race the TT, North West and UGP as Finnegan teams up with Klaffi Honda.
Twenty five year old Irishman Martin Finnegan has agreed terms with Klaus Klaffenböck's Klaffi Honda World Superbike team for the 2006 road race season, with additional support from Honda Racing. This tie up will see a full World Superbike team take part in pure road race events for the first time since Carl Fogarty and the Moto Cinelli team took part in the 1993 North West 200.
Martin and Klaus;
Klaffenböck, who won the 2001 World Sidecar Championship has enjoyed considerable success with his World Superbike and World Supersport teams in recent years and is keen to make an impact on the real road race scene in the UK and Ireland. This year the team moved into World Superbike full time with riders Pier Francesco Chilli of Italy and German Max Neukirchner.
Klaffi has contested the Isle of Man TT himself over the past two years in the Sidecar class impressing many with his progress, and ultimately he wants to win the event on both two wheels and three!
This deal will see Finnegan armed with the latest Honda Superbike, Superstock and Supersport machines, concentrating on the three International Road Races, The North West 200, The Isle of Man TT Races and the Ulster Grand Prix. With additional support from Honda Racing in Louth, Finnegan will also contest a full season of Irish Road Racing plus selected short circuit events at the start of the year. Martin will also join up with the rest of the Klaffi Honda squad for a full testing schedule over the winter months.
Speaking about the deal Finnegan enthused;
"I can't hide how pleased I am to be joining Klaus's team. We spoke briefly at the TT this year, but since then I have been in the fortunate position where I have been made a lot of offers for next season. I had offers from five team's altogether, but when Klaus came back to me with a firm offer, there was no doubt in my mind as to where I would be riding."
"Klaffi Honda has enjoyed a lot of success in a short space of time, and their machinery has proved to be very fast and very reliable, and they have terrific support from HRC. The whole set up is really impressive and Klaus wants to win the TT and so do I and I think riding for Klaffi Honda gives me the best possible chance of achieving this ambition. This is the deal of my life and I can't quite believe that it has happened!"
"I am equally delighted to have the full support from Neil Tuxworth and Honda Racing as well, who will be assisting our team throughout the season.
I hope to gain a lot of success riding for Honda, and I am sure I can repay the faith they are showing in me, with plenty of race wins."
Team owner Klaus Klaffenböck is excited about entering the British real road race scene with a full team effort and said;
"I really enjoy racing at the TT and I like the atmosphere of the real road race scene over there in the UK. I have thought about running a team at the TT and some other events for some time, and started talking to a few riders back in June. Martin was always top of my list however and I am delighted to be welcoming him into our team today. I am sure this is going to be a successful partnership and together we will win a lot of races. We are not going into this half heartedly, and Martin will get our full support and have access to our full team infrastructure. I want to win the TT myself in the Sidecar class, and I now want to win the Superbike races as well with our team and our new rider Martin Finnegan."
Honda Racing Manager Neil Tuxworth added his comments saying;
"We are delighted to be assisting Martin Finnegan and Team Klaffi Honda in 2006. Martin is a rider who has impressed everyone at Honda Racing with his progress in the sport and his mature and professional approach to everything he does. He is a rider who has a long and successful career ahead of him and hopefully that success will be achieved on Honda machinery. We are now going into this years TT with a fantastic line up, with the two fastest riders ever around the Mountain Circuit on Honda machinery emphasising the team's renewed focus at this level."
Martin will make his debut for his new team at the upcoming Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix on the 19th of November, where he will ride Pier Francesco Chilli's World Superbike Honda Fireblade machine.