Ten Kate Honda press release:
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda riders, Carlos Checa and Jonathan Rea, head to Assen in Holland this weekend (24-26 April) for round four of the 2009 World Superbike championship looking for improved results.
The pair struggled last time out at Valencia in Spain but the Dutch-based team has been working around the clock since then, looking for ways to improve the power delivery of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
Jonathan Rea undertook a brief test session at an oval circuit near the team’s base and declared himself happy with the work undertaken and confident of an improvement in performance at Assen, which is just 50km north of the Ten Kate squad’s Nieuwleusen workshop.
The historic circuit – known as ‘The Cathedral’ – has hosted world championship motorcycle racing since it began in 1949, although it was originally a street circuit. It underwent a significant redesign in 1955 and then again in 2006, shortening to its current length of 4.55km.
After what’s been a sluggish start to the season, we needed to look at making some changes to the bike to improve the feeling. The guys have found some pretty positive developments back at base and I was able to try them out last week. The feeling with the throttle is much better now and that was the main area of concern. Assen is a great place, for a number of reasons, and I got my first podium with the team there last year. The circuit should suit the bike better than Valencia anyway, and we’re all in a really positive frame of mind, so I’m really looking forward to the weekend.
I wasn’t able to test the improvements to the bike but we have had some detailed discussions and I’m happy with the developments that the team has made. There are one or two other additions to the bike for this weekend and I’m confident that what we have planned should work well at Assen. Like a lot of other riders, I prefer the old layout of the circuit, but it’s still a nice track and I was on the podium twice last year, so it’s a great place to have the team’s home round. I was at the workshop for an open day last weekend and, if the weather is as good as it was then, it should be a great event.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
We’ve been working very hard since Valencia to find a good feeling for the riders when they open the throttle. I think we now have a much better connection – we made a small test last week and Jonathan’s reaction was really positive, so we’ll take it to Assen with some confidence. To be honest, this is not a small step; it’s quite a considerable change to the bike, both mechanically and electronically. But we’re really positive that it will bring the results that seem to have eluded us so far this season.
Ten Kate Honda Racing’s Ryuichi Kiyonari approaches round four of the World Superbike championship at Assen in Holland this weekend (24-26 April) with renewed confidence and seeking improved results.
With a best result of fourth so far this season, the Japanese rider struggled with grip problems at the last round in Valencia, although his team has been working around the clock since then to resolve the issues.
Indeed, some modifications were tested by fellow Ten Kate rider, Jonathan Rea, last week and both Kiyonari and his crew are confident of improved performance and results at the team’s home round.
After the last race I went back to Japan for a week for the wedding of Mamoru Moriwaki’s daughter, so it was good to spend a short time relaxing with friends.
I must admit it was a little bit frustrating to ride with the problems we had at Valencia. But the team has been working really hard to prepare for Assen and I am confident that they have found some improvements for me to try. Last year was not such a good result, but we know what the problem was there – basically, rider too aggressive on throttle! I like the circuit at Assen, though, so I will try very hard this weekend to get some good results for the team.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
In spite of a fourth place in Qatar, it has been clear that our results so far this season have not been what we would have expected, so we have been looking very closely at how we can improve the feeling with the throttle on Kiyo-san’s CBR1000RR. We have made quite a big change to the bike and this is both mechanical and in the electronics. We were able to test the changes last week and now we go to Assen feeling much more positive that we can improve things at our home race.