The countdown to the 2007 World Superbike Championship has begun and HANNspree Ten Kate Honda is ready for the challenges it faces to claim the Superbike title. The first round of the series takes place at Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar on 24 February.
Youngest ever Superbike Champion James Toseland and new team-mate Roberto Rolfo will contest the championship aboard the formidable CBR1000RR Fireblade. Hopes are high as the team makes its final preparations before travelling to the 5.4km circuit on the outskirts of Qatar's capital city.
Twenty-five-year-old James faces his seventh World Superbike Championship and second consecutive year with Ten Kate Honda. The 2006 series saw the British rider achieve 12 podium finishes - including three victories, five second and four third places - to take second position overall. James is looking to improve on this in 2007 by reclaiming the title. Last year's season opener at Qatar saw the rider take his first race win of the season so expectations are high for 2007's corresponding race.
Joining JT in the 2007 HANNspree Ten Kate Honda line-up is rising star Roberto Rolfo. The Italian rider made his first world Superbike appearance last year following a successful seven-year career in the 250cc World Championship and a year in MotoGP. With the support of HANNspree Ten Kate Honda, the talented 25-year-old is set to fulfil his potential and could become the rider to watch in 2007.
Ronald Ten Kate, Team Manager:
"After a winter of hard work, I am really happy that the season is starting again. I believe we are ready in all areas and should be competitive from the start.
For sure there is a big challenge ahead of us with a lot of good riders and teams to compete with for the title. I think our Honda machinery, riders and team are ready to take on the challenge."
"I have been looking forward to the first race since I finished so strongly at the end of last year. I won the first race of the season in Qatar in 2006, which was a big surprise to everyone - including myself - particularly as I had switched to Honda after being with a rival manufacturer for five years. This put us in a good position to battle for the championship for the rest of the year and this it the kind of start I am hoping for again. I want to keep the winning streak going. The development of the HANNspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR in pre-season testing has been really strong. After the final test in Valencia last week, I think we are ready to go to Qatar and be capable of winning."
"For the first race of the championship I am very focused on understanding and applying everything we have learned during the winter testing. I have learned a different riding style and I am really happy with the progress that I have made with HANNspree Ten Kate Honda. Qatar is a track that I like very much because I have always had good results there. I'm glad that the first race is there because hopefully I can start the series well and carry this on through the rest of the championship."