Honda is making waves in the World Superbike paddock for next season, as HRC has pulled its support from the Ten Kate team, and is instead creating a factory team inside the garage of Althea and Moriwaki, who will jointly run the Red Bull Honda WorldSBK racing effort.
Contracted to HRC, Leon Camier will remain on the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 next season, and he will be joined by Ryuichi Kiyonari. Possessing the correct passport, this news means that the 2019 season will mark nearly a decade’s worth of time since Kiyonari last started a World Superbike race.
As we understand it, Althea Racing will run the logistics and hospitality of the new Honda WorldSBK team, while Moriwaki will handle what happens in the pit box and out on track.
Where this news leaves the Ten Kate team remains to be seen, though the championship is currently without representation from Suzuki, Aprilia, and MV Agusta – the latter making its plans to leave WorldSBK racing clear, earlier this year.
“I am really excited, this is a massive opportunity and it’s massively exciting. For HRC to come back into World Superbike is incredible, and I’m really looking forward to getting started,” said team rider Leon Camier.
“The level of WorldSBK is really high, a lot higher than people realize, Rea has set the bar really high. Our plan is it improve and take it to Kawasaki at some point, we need to be competitive from the off. It’s a new team with new things coming together and a lot of things to work on. I feel the potential is there to be knocking on the podium.”
Adding to Camier’s comments, Kiyonari-san said in the HRC press release the following: “First I am a bit surprised as are HRC coming back to Superbike, and I am surprised HRC called me.”
“It’s been 10 years since I have ridden in SBK, I am very happy to join this big project. I have two years of experience in WorldSBK – in 2008 and 2009 and it’s very competitive. It’s not easy to finish in the top six, but we have a good bike and a good team, if I can do a good job I hope I can get good results.”
Source: WorldSBK; Photo: © 2018 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – All Rights Reserved