Ten Kate Honda test Kayaba suspension

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After years of highly successful collaboration, Ten Kate Honda’s long term relationship with suspension specialists WP could be coming to an end.

Ten Kate have won seven consecutive World Supersport titles and the World Superbike crown once with WP,  who are owned by KTM, but now it seems that their partnership is over.

On the final day at Parkalgar, World Superbike man Ryuichi Kiyonari and Supersport World Champion Andrew Pitt tested with Kayaba suspension.

The team will continue to run the proven WP suspension in 2009, but look likely to end the deal in 2010.

Speaking to MCN, Ronald Ten Kate said:

“We always have and still experience a successful partnership with WP, but we are evaluating some other options for the future. The partnership plan has changed with the majority of the products being taken from Holland to KTM’s base in Austria.

“Now we have to pay for the product so we have to move or at least prepare ourselves to move. The exclusivity with WP has gone but we still have a strong working relationship. It is just a commercial reality.”

Ten Kate’s decision to evaluate Kayaba suspension ahead of an established suspension supplier such as Ohlins has come as a surprise, but the proven team have reasons for their actions.

Ten Kate said: “We have been speaking with Kayaba for approximately six months. There is already a clear link with Honda in Japan with the F.C.C race team so their products are not an unknown.

“Sometimes to do the obvious option is not always the best. At Ten Kate we don’t necessarily follow the route of others – we look at different things.”

Ten Kate revealed to MCN that they that will also be evaluating another top brand in the future. Although he was unable to confirm the name, MCN understands that it is Japanese specialists Showa.

“Showa are owned by Honda and currently only support the Al stare Suzuki team at factory level in WSB meaning Ten Kate would remain some exclusivity and remain a high priority in terms of the level of product available and support.

Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider