PATA Honda has confirmed it will attempt to defend its World Supersport Championship crown after signing Kyle Smith to ride its single CBR600RR.

With champion Michael van der Mark moving onto World Superbikes and Lorenzo Zanetti switching to the MV Agusta WSS team, Ten Kate Racing had mulled withdrawing from Supersport to focus on its WSBK efforts.

However, it has opted to stay in the championship it has won on nine occasions with former Moto2 rider Smith, who steps up from the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for me - I've got the bike, I've got the team behind me, I've got support from Honda, so I think this is going to be a year for me to prove who I am," he said. "I like CBR machines and although there is a bunch of new tracks for me to learn this year, I've not had too many difficulties learning new circuits in the past.

"It starts at Phillip Island which everyone seems to like and I've watched loads of videos of races there, so I can't wait. Set-up is the big thing, of course, but, with the experience of the Pata Honda team behind me, I couldn't be in a better position. I always put pressure on myself and I always race to win. That's what I aim to be doing this season."



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