Honda has hailed its all-new rider line-up for the 2015 World Superbike Championship after confirming new WSBK champion Sylvain Guintoli alongside World Supersport champion Michael van der Mark.

A bold new title-winning partnership for a team that has been led by Jonathan Rea since 2009, with the Ulsterman heading to Kawasaki in 2015, the manufacturer has afforded itself the opportunity to secure an impressive pairing in Guintoli and van der Mark.

Though signed prior to the final round, Guintoli would go on to turn around a points' deficit in the title showdown to come away as champion. It means the Frenchman takes the 'No.1' plate to Honda, Guintoli seeking a new challenge after his existing Aprilia team couldn't give him assurances over its future involvement in the series.

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van der Mark, meanwhile, steps up to the Superbike class after dominating the Supersport category for PATA Honda with six wins in 11 races.

Indeed, though Ronald ten Kate admits the exit of Rea to a rival manufacturer is 'an end of an era', he is thrilled be replacing him and Leon Haslam with another quality pairing.

"In many ways it's the end of an era, but it's the start of a new one, too, and I think 2015 is going to be a really exciting season for us, the team manager said. "I'm really delighted that we are able to welcome Sylvain to the Pata Honda team for his first ride with Honda. He has a great record in the World Superbike championship and has performed really well this season to come back from a big deficit and win the title yesterday in style.

"With Mikey [van der Mark] on the other side of the garage I believe we have that perfect blend of youth and experience that all team managers aim for. We have an intensive winter testing schedule planned and I honestly can't wait for next season to start."

Honda's Head of Motorsport Robert Watherston is also pleased to have Guintoli and van der Mark coming on board at a time when he believes Honda has the opportunity to capitalise on the upcoming new regulations.

First of all, congratulations to Sylvain on his title! This is a fantastic appointment for the team and I'm very happy that we have been able to secure the services of a rider who can bring so much top level experience to the team.

"Sylvain will be the perfect foil for Michael's [van der Mark] aggression and raw speed so I see this as a great line-up for the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP's ongoing development as we head into this new era of WSBK regulations.

"On behalf of the whole team, we wish Jonathan and Leon all the best for the future and thank them both enormously for their years of service with Honda."

With Rea confirmed at Kawasaki for 2015, Haslam is rumoured to be weighing up several options to stay in WSBK, including Red Devils Roma Aprilia, Pedercini Kawasaki, Barni Ducati and MV Agusta.


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MotoGPete: It's all well and good Honda 'hailing' these riders they now need to start looking to put a decent package together for them for next season. I'm afraid the bike they currently have isn't up to he job. It's not as if HRC don't have the resources to help the PATA team out over the winter.[\blockquote]
It isn't anything to do with HRC providing the resources, it's simply that the bike is outdated (it was launched in 2007), and has reached the end of its development path.
It was good for its time but has now been superseded by virtually everyone (except Suzuki).
You can keep polishing a turd but it doesn't change what it is.