Two new teams have announced plans to move up to the World Superbike championship in 2004.
At a time when manufacturers are pulling out of the championship left, right and centre World Supersport team Ten Kate Honda will bring Honda's new Fireblade to the series, albeit without official factory backing, while endurance racers Zongshen will field two Suzuki GSX-R1000s.
The Ten Kate move will see the team's current rider and newly-crowned World Supersport champion Chris Vermuelen make the move up to the litre class as its sole Honda rider.
The move up to WSB doesn't mean that Ten Kate has abandoned the 600cc class, though. It is looking increasingly likely that the team's CBR600RRs will be in Australian hands next season with Broc Parkes and Karl Muggeridge both tipped to ride for the squad.
While none of the current WSB teams seem happy with the changes to the rulebook for 2004, team owner Gerrit Ten Kate said that they have made it possible for the team to expand into the series.
"The new World Superbike technical rules are a positive step for a team like mine," said Ten Kate. "It offers great new opportunities, just like Supersport offers. This move is great news for our team, the championship, Chris Vermeulen and hopefully for Honda and the new Fireblade."
Zongshen, the runner-up in this years World Endurance championship and last year's winners, will be entering a two rider team in WSB in 2004.
Zongshen currently runs two teams in the endurance championship on Suzuki GSX-R1000s with considerable success but will bring one of the teams to WSB with two of it's current endurance riders, Piergiorgio Bontempi and Warwick Nowland.
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