1 January 1901
Q&A - Ronald ten Kate
At this moment, we have a two-year contract with Honda to cover 2009 and 2010. Racing has always been very important to Honda, but the financial situation they are in at the moment means that they need to cut back expenses all over the place. I am quite confident that they will remain in World Superbike to the level at the moment.
What do you make of WSBK compared to MotoGP at the moment, particularly with BMW and Aprilia joining this year?
World Superbike is on the up, while MotoGP is having a difficult time at the moment. There is always a life cycle for any championship though and, for some reason, whenever MotoGP is on the up, World Superbikes is going down - now it is the opposite way. I don't think we should point our finger at MotoGP, because I am sure things will come back together. I don't think it is a good moment to even speak about bringing both championships together. I just hope everyone will survive in 2009 and in 2010 we can go forward.
You've been interested in MotoGP in the past – how appealing does the new Moto2 series sound for you?
Moto2, because it is based on 600cc machinery, in which we already have a proven track record, is for sure a class we are looking at. But first we have to see exactly what the rules are going to be. There is a set of rules in place, but it is not so defined yet. So we're just going to wait and see. Probably during the second half of this season we'll decide if we are going to build a Moto2 machine or not.
Many would consider Kenan Sofuoglu a perfect candidate for this category. Would he feature in your plans?
I believe that Kenan's riding style would for sure be good for a Moto2 bike, but it is not an issue at the moment because we happy where we are and the project ahead of us for 2009 and 2010, which is in World Superbike and World Supersport. When and if there is going to be a Moto2 machine built, we would also need to decide if we want to run the machine ourselves, or just lease it out - or sell it - for customers to race.
Two of your former riders, James Toseland and Chris Vermeulen, are now racing in MotoGP. What do you think we can expect from them this season?
Well for sure from James we can expect quite a big step up this year. I truly and strongly believe in him as a racer. Also the new single tyre rule will definitely be a step forward for James. It was unfortunate to see him crash out so hard in testing at Sepang the other week, but I strongly believe that he will make a step.
With Chris Vermeulen we are going to have to see. He has already been in MotoGP for a couple of years now, so as a rider I can't see him making a big step. It probably depends more on if Suzuki will make a big step forward. Looking at the latest test results at Sepang, Capirossi was right up there, so we might also see a step forward for Chris.
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