Honda has confirmed it will field an all-British rider line-up in the 2013 World Superbike Championship after agreeing a contract extension with Jonathan Rea and signing up Leon Haslam.
The subject of speculation in recent weeks, though Haslam has been strongly linked to Honda since it was confirmed he would be leaving BMW, it wasn't known whether Rea would opt to stay in WSBK or chase a ride in MotoGP.
However, the Ten Kate-helmed team has now confirmed that Rea will start his fifth season with the manufacturer, while Haslam will return to Honda machinery, four years after riding a privateer Stiggy CBR1000RR to success in 2009.
In addition, it was announced the PATA will come on board as the title sponsor for 2013 having funded its own privateer team in WSBK for the last three seasons.
After making his WSBK debut with Honda in 2009, Rea has gone on to claim ten victories with the manufacturer, but has fallen short of mounting a convincing title campaign. Nonetheless, Rea, who recently made his MotoGP debut with Honda at the San Marino Grand Prix, feels he is in the right place to achieve his objectives.
“I'm happy to continue my partnership with Honda in this exciting championship. I've been loyal to Honda my whole career and that's because I believe in them as a company and I believe that we can achieve more together in the future.
“It's no secret that we've been lacking in certain areas but I know there is a team of determined and dedicated guys working away both at the races and at the workshop to improve the bike and to try and be a consistent front runner for next season.
“They've got some very exciting plans for 2013 and beyond, and I'm sure that with a strong team-mate like Leon, we can all work together to make next season memorable for all the right reasons.”
Haslam, meanwhile, comes to the team with several notable credits at WSBK level, not least his standout performance on his return to the series in 2009 aboard the privateer Stiggy Honda, notching up four podiums to take sixth in the standings.