Honda - WSBK 2011 Preview

The start of the 2011 World Superbike and Supersport season is just days away, so weighs up the contenders manufacturer-by-manufacturer.
Perhaps the best example of the shift in power at World Superbike level, while relative newcomers Aprilia and BMW each have their own satellite entries in 2011, Honda will persevere with just its factory-nominated Ten Kate machines this year.

Indeed, it was only two years ago when the Japanese manufacturer commanded a significant presence of seven full-time bikes, but the popularity of the CBR1000RR has seemingly waned amongst customers.

Even so, Honda will enter a new era by revisiting a former one following the return of Castrol, one that will see the Dutch-based team renamed Castrol Honda as a result.

The distinctive white, green and red colours are back in a clear nod to the period in which Honda enjoyed possibly its greatest success as a World Superbike team.

Stylish on the outside, the changes to the bike haven't been restricted to a mere paint job, with the Ten Kate team working hard to iron out some of the set-up issues that caused the bike to fluctuate uneasily between unbeatable and well off the pace in 2010.

Once more, Jonathan Rea is charged with fronting Honda's bid to reclaim the title, the Ulsterman keen to carry the positives of his somewhat inconsistent 2010 campaign and eradicate the negatives.

Testing has gone well so far, but then it did last season, only for a modest start to the season to put Rea out of the running before he had barely left the blocks… His recent hand injury during the Phillip Island test hasn't helped matters either.

As such, judgement will be reserved for the moment, though he is the man Max Biaggi is likely to fear most in 2011.

One of the bigger surprises during the off-season was the announcement that the second Castrol Honda seat was to be assumed by Ruben Xaus. Surprising in that there were murmurs that Honda would focus on just one bike in 2011, the decision to place Xaus on the bike after two unspectacular years at BMW, during which he was comprehensively outshined by fellow veteran Troy Corser, also raised some eyebrows.

While it is often easy to forget that Xaus is an 11-time race winner at this level, the fact that this is probably his best WSBK break since 2002 at a time when his career is possibly in its twilight years makes this an interesting choice.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Xaus, Australian WSBK Test 21-22 Feb 2011
Xaus, Australian WSBK Test 21-22 Feb 2011
Xaus, Australian WSBK Test 21-22 Feb 2011
Xaus, Australian WSBK Test 21-22 Feb 2011
Xaus, Australian WSBK Test 21-22 Feb 2011
Lowes, Race 2, U.S. WSBK 2014.
Rea, U.S. WSBK 2014.
Lowes, U.S. WSBK 2014.
Rea, Race 1, U.S. WSBK 2014.
Rea, Race 2, Podium,  U.S. WSBK 2014.
Rea, Race 2,  U.S. WSBK 2014.
Lowes, Crash,  U.S. WSBK 2014.
Lowes, Race 2,  U.S. WSBK 2014.
Lowes, Race 1, U.S. WSBK 2014.
Lowes, Race 1, U.S. WSBK 2014.
Rea, U.S. WSBK 2014.
Rea, U.S. WSBK 2014.
Rea, U.S. WSBK 2014.

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mkindy - Unregistered

February 24, 2011 8:45 AM

Do crash writers actually read there own articles before posting??? I can undersatnd on a breaking story the odd word being ommited, but when it's a review and there isn't the time crunch can whoever writes these articles actually read them before posting them.... there are words missing, grammer 12 year old could put a better article together than this...

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