Ronald ten Kate has tipped Cal Crutchlow as the biggest threat in their quest for an eighth consecutive World Supersport title.
Ten Kate Honda have been a dominant force in the Supersport class since 2002 when Fabien Foret won their first title, a result that has since been repeated by Chris Vermeulen, Karl Muggeridge, Sebastien Charpentier (twice), Kenan Sofuoglu and Andrew Pitt.
With record-breaking 2007 winner Sofuoglu returning to join forces with 2008 champion Pitt, Ten Kate have arguably their strongest WSS rider line-up yet.
Nonetheless, both riders have been run close during testing by a handful of prospective rivals, most notably Joan Lascorz on the Provec Kawasaki and WSS rookie Crutchlow on the Yamaha.
It is Crutchlow though, who switches from the British Superbike Championship, that ten Kate has identified as the rider most likely to spoil their record.
“I believe that both Kenan and Andrew are up for the task to at least challenge for the title,” he told Crash.net
. “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. But Crutchlow will definitely be up there.”