As exclusively revealed by CN yesterday, reigning World Supersport champions Pata Honda have confirmed expatriate British rider Kyle Smith as the sole heir to Michael van der Mark’s title winning machine for the 2015 season.
Revealed at the Verona Motorcycle Show alongside World Superbike riders van der Mark and reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli, the former Valencian motocross champion will make his debut on the machine at Philip Island ahead of the first round of the championship next month.
Speaking after the announcement, Smith said: “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. 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.”
Team manager Ronald ten Kate added: “Supersport for us has always been like a breeding ground where we try to bring on young riders that we believe in. Kyle matches that requirement and he showed some quite exceptional performances on the Honda CBR in Superstock 1000 last year. He’s shown that he’s a proper racer and, on a proven bike in an experienced team, we really think he can do well. We’re hoping to get him at least on the podium, but I think sometimes he’ll be able to do even better than that.”