Ronald ten Kate says the arrival of former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden to his Honda World Superbike outfit has created a 'dream team' capable of turning around the team's fortunes after desperately disappointing 2015 campaign.
Despite signing world champion Sylvain Guintoli alongside highly-rated youngster Michael van der Mark for 2015, Honda failed to win a race in World Superbikes for the first time since 2003 when it didn't compete.
With Guintoli defecting to the returning Yamaha team after just a single season, Honda will nonetheless still feature a high-profile line-up for 2016, with the committed van der Mark being joined by 2006 MotoGP title winner Hayden.
It is a line-up that excites ten Kate – eponymous owner of the team that runs Honda's WSBK effort -, describing the pair as a 'dream team'.
“I think we have a great rider line-up for next year,” ten Kate told the official WSBK website. “Young Michael, who has done so well in his rookie season and, combining that with Nicky Hayden, you could call it a dream team.”
Though the Honda factory has come into criticism for not focusing more efforts on his WSBK, particularly with regards to updating the CBR1000RR Fireblade machine, ten Kate hints a new bike is on its way.
“On my horizon, there is something new coming...well…let's stop that conversation here. My horizon is a little bit different to yours, I can confirm [laughs].
“Let's look to the horizon we can both see, which is next year, when I have a great rider line-up and a bike which is definitely up to speed again. I am looking forward to really challenging for the title again. We are ready for it.”
Meanwhile, Hayden - who exited MotoGP at the Valencia season-ender earlier this month - has made his first visit to Ten Kate, giving a glimpse at the bike's possible livery following the loss of title backer PATA.