Honda has become the first World Superbike Championship team to take the wraps off its challenger for the 2013 season as it officially welcomed the arrival of title sponsor Pata.
The Italian snacks company was revealed as Honda's major new backer in October 2012, Pata opting to go into partnership with Honda and Ten Kate Racing having run its own privateer Ducati/Aprilia team in 2011 and 2012.
Launched at the MotorBike Expo in Verona, the Pata Honda livery is, as anticipated, similar to that of the Pata Ducati/Aprilia of 2011 and 2012, showcasing a familiar white, red and blue design that is also in-keeping with the corporate colours of Honda. In addition, the bikes sport the headlights that will be rolled out across the classes this year.
As well as the new sponsorship deal, which also extends to an expanded World Supersport line-up, the launch saw Leon Haslam officially inaugurated into the Honda team alongside Jonathan Rea having made the switch from BMW over the winter.
“It's great for me to be back with Honda for 2013 and I'm really happy with the whole look of the Pata Honda team. We've got a two day test in Jerez
next week before all the kit has to be packed up for Australia. The first round can't come soon enough for me!”
Multiple race winner Rea, who is entering into his fifth season with Honda, was also excited about the upcoming year as he looks to mount a title campaign.
“This is a really exciting moment,” said Rea after the unveiling of the team and its new racing livery. “I think the bikes and the leathers look great and we know that there are some exciting developments for the CBR for this season, so I can't wait for it to start.”
Haslam and Rea were joined at the launch by fellow newcomers Lorenzo Zanetti and Michael van der Mark, who will front Pata Honda's World Supersport team.
Honda comes into the 2013 World Superbike Championship looking to challenge for its first title since James Toseland was victorious in 2007. Since then, the team has won 14 WSBK
races (Rea 9, Carlos Checa
2, Ryuichi Kiyonari
3), but has only gotten as high as fourth overall in 2010 with Rea and Checa in 2008.
Pata will enjoy a significant presence in the paddock in 2013, sponsoring both the Ten Kate Honda Superbike and Supersport efforts, as well as supporting the three rider-strong Martini Corse outfit in the Supersport class.
To view more images from the Pata Honda launch, scroll below to the gallery.