On the flip side, Xaus brings a huge amount of experience to the team and given he has spent much of his career on either a Ducati twin and the BMW S1000RR – two fairly tricky beasts at the best of times -, this could do a 'Checa' and revive his fortunes.
While Hondas may be thin on the ground in the WSBK class, there are plenty of 'winged' crescents in the Supersport class with the CBR600RR proving the overwhelming bike of choice for another season.
Champions Ten Kate Racing return having retained its HANNspree backing with the all-French pairing of Fabien Foret and Florian Marino, while a bevy of privateer entrants also make up an impressive Supersport entry list this year.
While the choice of Foret – who won the title back in 2002 – was another Ten Kate-initiated surprise, he should be the frontrunner he couldn't be with Lorenzini Kawasaki in 2010.
Of the privateer contingent, 2009 and 2010 title challengers Parkalgar Honda return with an ambitious four-man squad this season, with reigning British Supersport champion Sam Lowes charged with getting the title Eugene Laverty just missed out on. Additionally, James Ellison is a welcome addition on the PTR Bogdanka, arranged as part of a deal with between PTR and the Polish Bogdanka operation. Both British riders are tipped to challenge for the title, while Miguel Praia and Pawel Szkopek will provide respective support.
Elsewhere, 2010 standout rookie Gino Rea remains with Intermoto and with the team – known as Step Racing - now benefitting from Ukrainian backing, the youngster is another expected to break into the winners' circle this season.
The very experienced Robbin Harms is also back on a sole Harms Benjan Honda, with former team-mate Bastien Chesaux going solo aboard a Moto Academy Swiss machine, while Alexander Lundh is another sophomore contender on the Cresto Guide bike.
Finally, Kuja Racing and Team Toth plan to enter a pair of bikes over the season, while Ondrej Jezek will ride for newcomers SMS.