The Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team are in no hurry to announce their replacement for James Toseland in World Superbikes despite attending last weeks Croft British Superbikes race to speak with series leader Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) and executive vice president of HRC Satoru Horiike.
With former British Superbikes and World Superbikes champion Neil Hodgson in the frame the team have some big decisions to make, but for now they are concentrating on this year and winning their first ever World Superbikes title..
Despite Toseland’s dominant 66 point lead with just three rounds remaining the team are taking no chances with testing planned next week at Magny Cours.
MCN spoke with team boss Ronald Ten Kate on testing, the new CBR and why they were at Croft:
MCN: When will you be making a decision about next years riders?
Ten Kate: “For now we are on holiday but for sure we are thinking. I have meetings next week where we will discuss this further and we intend to make an announcement at the Lausitzring race.”
MCN: You caused a stir turning up at Croft British Superbikes last weekend, why were you there?
Ten Kate: “For me it was the first time at a BSB race. The reason for the visit was to speak with Horiike about development of the new CBR1000RR and to plan testing and next season.”
MCN: What have you heard about the new bike, what can you tell us?
Ten Kate: “The bike is being tested as we speak in Japan, going round and round. All I can say is that from the news I have from Japan I am very much looking forward to racing with it in 2008.”
MCN: Why have you selected Magny Cours as your test track?
Ten Kate: “When we didn’t test at the new Misano circuit earlier in the season we came in for a lot of criticism but now that is out of the way we are very happy that we have selected Magny Cours as our test track.”
MCN: What will you be testing?
Ten Kate: “The track has been completely resurfaced since we were there last year so it will be new for everyone. We have the tyres from Pirelli that they intend to use in the race which is good news as usually at private tests you only get standard rubber.
“The aim of the test is to get a setting for the new tarmac, fine tune the traction control and we will also continue to develop a new launch control system.”
MCN: Do you think the title will be decided in Magny Cours?
Ten Kate: “Hopefully we secure it before then, but it will be difficult. Mathematically it is possible at Lausitzring. We had a positive test at Vallelunga and Magny Cours has always been good for us and for James.”
MCN: I understand that Toseland will be the only Ten Kate rider at the test – why?
Ten Kate: “Yes we will only have one rider. Everyone is on holiday right now but James’ crew have sacrificed their time off to come to the test.
“As for the Supersport team the guys have been working flat out since the end of last year with the new bike and they deserved the holiday. Plus we have already won this years WSS title. If we hadn’t then for sure we would have tested.”