Pata Honda have unveiled their 2015 livery at the Verona Motorcycle Expo, with their pair of reigning World Champions in the form of Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark officially stepping out in the team’s colours for the first time.
Straight form a rain-struck test at Portimao, the pair headed to the motorcycle show near sponsor Pata’s home base in Italy, but will return to the Iberian Peninsula for the start of further testing on Monday at Jerez.
Speaking at the announcement, World Superbike champion Guintoli said: “Bringing the number one plate to a new manufacturer is a big deal, really, because it doesn’t happen very often. It’s symbolic for me, too, because I’ll be going for the title again on a different bike, the Honda CBR. I’ll definitely be wearing the number one with pride this year. But I’m motivated by the challenge and I’ve found a team that also wants it really badly.”
Teammate and World Supersport champion van der Mark added: “I’m in the same team as last year but, after winning the World Supersport title, I had to make another step and, for me, that was World Superbike. It’s maybe a little easier for me because I have the same team, but I still have to get used to the bigger CBR and its more sophisticated electronics and find a good set-up. I think the biggest challenge for me and everyone is the new regulations. At the moment the bike feels really good but we’ll have to see where it is after the first few races.”
Team boss Ronald ten Kate concluded: “Our rider line-up is very good on paper with two world champions on the Honda CBR Fireblade. I think that would be unique for any team but certainly for us. There’s a lot of knowledge and experience that Syvlain is bringing to the team – he’s been on a lot of different bikes in different paddocks.”
“On the other side, Michael has stepped up to Superbike and he’s the young gun. Apart from a few outings at Suzuka, he has no experience on the big bikes, so when you put those guys in the blender I think we’ve got the perfect team. You can already smell, feel, sense that something great is coming up.”