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Q&A - Ronald ten Kate

I am confident that they will be up there from the first race. World Superbikes is more competitive than ever, so I can easily name about ten people who can win a race, but that narrows down to five or six people when it comes to the championship. This includes both Carlos and Kiyonari.

Crash.net
Where does Jonathan Rea fit in? Can he be a title challenger?

RtK
The first year for Jonathan in World Superbikes should be a learning year, because this learning curve will be very steep. In Kyalami, and in Portimao, though, he showed he can be right up there at the front so, without putting pressure on him, I expect him to be finishing on the podium and I predict he can win in his rookie season.

Crash.net
How invaluable was Jonathan's season in Supersports?

RtK
I think the first year in Supersports gave him the chance to learn about the tracks, but also about international racing. It was a year away from home, which is very different, so as a person I think he is ready for it and as a racer we will see how he can do in his rookie season. The choice of a year on Supersports first was a correct one - we just have to see how good he can be on a Superbike.

Crash.net
Andrew Pitt made his feelings felt about wanting to return to Superbikes – are you pleased he decided to remain with you in Supersports?

RtK
After last season, both Andrew and Jonathan deserve a year on Superbikes, but we are very limited to the seats we have available on that. So when we made our choice to take Jonathan up to Superbikes, Andrew was disappointed, but that is to be expected. Both riders deserved to move on, but Andrew is happy to be back with the team. He is enjoying his racing and has put a difficult couple of years behind him. Winning his very important to a rider, so to defend his championship is something he is really looking forward to.

Crash.net
If Andrew wins the Supersport title again this year, will you be tempted to promote him to the Superbike team?

RtK
It is hard to say at this point. You never know what is going to happen, especially with the way sponsorship is at the moment, but he definitely deserves a shot.

Crash.net
As multiple Supersport champions, who do you expect to provide your greatest challenge in 2009?

RtK
I believe that both Kenan and Andrew are up for the task to at least challenge for the title. When I look to the competition, I really believe that Crutchlow will be one of the guys that will regularly be up there at the front. Fabien Foret too, although we don't really know if he has fully recovered from the crash he had last year.

Crash.net
During Superbike testing, it was noted that Ryuichi Kiyonari was running in alternative, HRC colours during testing at Portimao – what is the motivation behind that? Is he running a slightly different bike to his team-mates?

RtK
No, the machine is completely built by us here in Holland. The reason for running a different livery is that Hannspree decided to only back two World Superbikes for us this year, so we had to find alternative sponsorship. Luckily, within the Honda company, through Honda Genuine Accessories, we managed to find a partner to fund the bike for Kiyonari. The bike is identical at this moment, although over the season we might see a few variations due to the individual riders choosing a different swing arm, link system, exhaust… but it is nothing to do with the difference in parts available for the riders.

Crash.net
When it comes to the credit crunch in motorsport, Honda has been hit particularly hard on two and four wheels. How confident are you that Honda will remain committed to World Superbikes in the immediate future?

RtK


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ronald Ten Kate, Vallelunga WSBK 2008
Guintoli, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Guintoli, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Davies, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Iannone, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Melandri, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Davies slides, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Iannone, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Barrier, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Barrier, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Melandri, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Iannone, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Barrier, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
West, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Melandri, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Iannone, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Simon, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014

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