2011 World Supersport
Electronics giant Hannspree has confirmed its support of the Ten Kate Honda World Supersport championship team for the forthcoming 2011 season.
It will be the fifth successive year that the Taiwan-based consumer electronics manufacturer has sponsored the Ten Kate Honda team, with which it won both World Superbike and World Supersport championship titles in 2007 with Britain's James Toseland and Turkish ace, Kenan Sofuoglu.
In 2008, the partnership won the World Supersport title once again with Australian rider, Andrew Pitt, and the feat was repeated last season, once more with Kenan Sofuoglu.
For the 2011 campaign, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda will run a dynamic, all-French Supersport rider line-up featuring an enticing blend of youth and experience with Florian Marino and Fabien Foret.
Foret, 37 and from Angouleme in western France, returns to the Ten Kate Honda team for the first time since winning the World Supersport championship in 2002 - the first of an unparalleled eight titles for the Dutch squad. The French ace has been a perennial front-runner in the series ever since with a total of 12 race wins and 27 podium finishes.
Marino, meanwhile, has only recently embarked on his professional racing career, having finished as runner-up in last year's European Superstock 600 series with the Ten Kate Junior team. The 17-year old from Cannes won three races in 2010 and is thrilled at the prospect of stepping up to world championship level.
Lukas Chong (managing director, Hannspree Europe) says: "We are absolutely delighted to continue our support of the Ten Kate Honda Racing operation for a fifth consecutive year in the dynamic and exciting World Supersport championship. The team has an unrivalled record of championship wins and operates at an extremely high professional level.
"However, everyone in the squad also works with a big smile on their face and it is this attractive blend of technical excellence, professionalism and fun that fits so well with the Hannspree brand ethos. We look forward to celebrating more wins with the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team during the 2011 season."
Ronald ten Kate (team manager, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) says: "We are, of course, very happy to continue our partnership with Hannspree into 2011. I think we have a perfect match of riders for next season with young Florian Marino and a very experienced rider like Fabien. Of course, we still remember clearly our first world title that Fabien won with us in 2002, so you might call it déjà vu.
"We'd like to thank Hannspree and, in particular, Lukas Chong, for their continued support of our racing program for 2011 - we believe that we have another winning team and we aim to repay Hannspree's confidence in us with more race victo ries and hopefully another world title.
Fabien Foret (#99, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda Supersport) says: "This is a great news for me and I'm really looking forward to this season. It's such a good feeling to come back into the Ten Kate family - we know each other pretty well now and I have the same motivation end determination as in 2002.
"I hope obviously to enjoy my bike and my team and have some great moments again together. I have watched the development of the CBR600RR over the years and it remains the bike to be on because it has won so many championships.
"My own targets for the year are a personal thing, but when you are in the Ten Kate Honda team you probably have quite a good idea of why you're there! I am training every day and getting ready for some testing in Aragon and Portimao at the end of this month and I really can't wait to jump on my bike now."
Florian Marino (#21, Ten Kate Honda Supersport) says: "It's still a dream, and I find it very difficult to find the words to describe my feelings. I first spoke with Gerrit ten Kate about this possibility at the last race at Magny-Cours, but I was so happy when we were finally able to sign at the end of December.
"It was the best Christmas present I ever had! This year is really a learning year for me, because although I know many of the circuits, World Supersport will be a different level and a different way of working. But, of course, if I have the opportunity to win in 2011, I won't wait! I have been training very hard to prepare for this year but there is no pressure on me and I want to enjoy my learning experience - especially at fast circuits like Assen and Monza!"