Iain MacPherson's 2002 season has turned on its head, following his selection to replace the departing Pere Riba in the Ten Kate Supersport squad.

The Honda team had been searching for a suitably qualified replacement since Riba's shock decision to accept Luis d'Antin's offer of a seat alongside Norick Abe for the coming MotoGP season, but only opted for MacPherson less than a week before the season kicks off in Spain.

Left without a rider for next weekend's opening race at Valencia, the team was naturally bombarded with offers from riders eager to get on what is reputed to be the best bike in the field, before manager Ronald ten Kate announced that he had signed 'Fearless' MacPherson - who rode for the Dutch team in the World Thunderbike series back in 1996 - to ride the CBR600FS.

The Scot had been due to ride for sidecar ace Klaus Klaffenbock's OPCM squad this season, but felt that he could not pass up such a golden opportunity.

"I want to be world champion in Supersport," the Scot explained, "and this is the best option to achieve this goal. I feel sorry for Klaffenbock's OPCM-squad, but this is an offer I cannot refuse.

"I know the Ten Kate Honda team, since riding with them in 1996 and I know what they're capable of. I'm looking forward to test the yellow Honda CBR600FS which, in my opinion, with its Pirelli Tyres and WP Suspension, is the best bike in the championship."

ten Kate also admitted some remorse after being forced to recruit a rider from another team so close to the start of the season, but said that Riba's departure left him with little option.

"I'm not completely comfortable with the situation, but our hand was forced by Riba's last minute move," he said, "We've spoken to Klaffenbock and come to an amicable agreement. We were very lucky to get a talented rider like Iain so close to the start of the season."

After a hectic few days trying to recover from the sudden departure of Riba, the team is now looking forward to getting Iain on the CBR600FS and getting the bike dialled in to suit the hard-riding Scot. There can be no doubt that 'Fearless' will give it his all when he rides out onto the Ricardo Tomo circuit on Friday 8 March for his first qualifying session with the Ten Kate squad.