It will be, without a single doubt, a special race for the Winston Ten Kate Honda Team this weekend. With the latest SBK weekend being held in Assen, Holland, it can be considered a home race in all respects for the Team, under the management of Ronald Ten Kate. During this forthcoming weekend we will see an SBK race on the modified circuit for the first time, on a track with reduced length and, in part, a modified philosophy in the approach to a track which has ever been considered the temple of the racing motorcycle. But the Winston Ten Kate Honda men are ready for this new challenge and both James Toseland and Karl Muggeridge will start out with lofty ambitions. There is a weight of expectation on their shoulders, after the results that were achieved at Assen last year, when the Dutch team secured a fantastic double win with Chris Vermeulen. Both riders are in good form currently and are expected to be fully competitive in the two Superbike races on Sunday.
Ronald Ten Kate - Team Manager;
"I am looking forward for the team's home round. The track has changed for everybody but mainly it has remained a lot like before. The last couple of year's results have been quite good for us and I really hope to continue this way with Karl and James. We also have some new small parts to test and this will take up a small amount of time on Friday. The weather should be OK, but you never know what the weather is going to be like in Holland. trust me!"
James Toseland - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider;
"I had a good break which has really recharged my batteries. I spent some time in Greece at my brother's wedding and I really enjoyed it. I am so happy for him. I also kept myself in shape during this time because I still believe we can have a shot at the World Championship. We are not so far from the top considering that there are still 200 points to be won. I know it's an important race for the Team because they are at home and I will do my best to make them happy."
Karl Muggeridge - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider;
"I'm feeling good. We had a good 'warm up' at the Ten Kate workshop last weekend for the pit stop day and a lot of fans showed up. The forecast seems to promise some rain for the weekend but this doesn't worry me so much. I will try my best to earn as many points as possible for the Winston Ten Kate Honda Team and me. I know it's a really special race for them."
I was at a presentation at Assen recently and had an opportunity to look at the new layout - from a course car. For me, Assen always was a fantastic track - flowing and a blast to ride. From my two laps in the course car last week, I think that it is now a completely different track to ride and the first five or six turns are going to ruin the flowing nature of the track somewhat. I don't think the new layout is going to suit our bike so well and getting the gearing right for the first part is going to have an effect on the second part. The set-up is going to have to be a compromise for sure and it'll be vital to get a good set-up as quickly as you can and then make really good starts in both races or you'll be left behind and struggling. I will need to qualify well and be at the front of the pack to have any chance of podiums - that's the plan.
The new Assen layout is very different and I don't think it is going to be as good as before - too many slow corners! I like big, fast turns. But, this new design will be different for everybody, so it is up to me to learn it quickly and get a good bike set-up. I have had a good break and now I cannot wait to get on to my race bike again. After my success in Brno, I want to get podiums in all the last four rounds and end the season well. I am sure that Assen will not be easy, but I will try my hardest - as usual - and go 110% for the podium.