Jonathan Rea says it is his 'honour' to be the man to front Castrol Honda's charge towards the 2011 World Superbike title, almost a decade after it claimed a famous victory with Colin Edwards.
The distinctive oil lubricants brand returns as a Honda title backer in 2011 having been absent since the end of 2002, the year in which it claimed a third WSBK crown with the manufacturer.
With the 2002 season, which saw Edwards and Troy Bayliss go to the wire, often regarded as the most exciting of all-time, Rea says that performance by the American was an inspiration for him as he was coming through the motorcycling ranks.
Indeed, being 14-years-old at the time and just starting out in motor racing, Rea is thrilled to be part of the Castrol Honda revival in 2011 and is determined to emulate his predecessor.
“One of my main inspirations for racing was watching Castrol Honda's Colin Edwards battle Troy Bayliss for the World Superbike championship in that epic season in 2002. It's a real honour for me to be racing under those same famous colours for the 2011 season and I'll be trying my hardest to recreate what Colin did for the Castrol Honda team.
“I think the bike looks fantastic and I know the Ten Kate guys back at the workshop have been working really hard on its technical development since last season finished so now I just can't wait to get started.”
It's a sentiment shared by team-mate Ruben Xaus, who is one of the few riders in the 2011 WSBK field that was competing in the series back in 2002.
“After many years of racing at world championship level it is very nice and important for me to be part of a big project like the new Castrol Honda team,” he said. “The biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world is joining together with one of the biggest lubricants companies in the world and supporting the Ten Kate team, which has had a lot of success with many world championship titles.
“All together it's a big and really exciting mixture and I will give my talent and every effort to help Castrol and the Honda CBR1000RR become a regular winning partnership in the 2011 championship.”
Rea will be entering into his third season with Ten Kate Honda having finished fifth in 2009 and fourth in 2010.