2014 World Superbike Championship
With the 2013 World Superbike Championship heading towards its conclusion, Pata Honda reports that it will retain both Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam for the 2014 WSBK season.
Rea has rode nothing but Honda machinery since joining the Ten Kate Honda team in World Supersport in 2008. The following year, he moved to the factory Honda World Superbike team, which is now Pata Honda. He has taking 33 podiums in 116 races, including 11 wins.
This year, Rea fractured is left femur during Nurburgring, but is recovering well. The 26-year-old Northern Irishman is hoping to pilot his CBR1000RR Fireblade before the end of 2013 World SBK.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda CBR1000RR Superbike) says: “It’s been a big decision that I’ve thought long and hard about because there were some other options to consider.
“However, at the end of the day it was an easy choice because of the faith and respect that I have for the team that I’ve been with for six years and the company that I have been with my entire career. I know how hard the guys work to make the Honda competitive and I know that we have the potential to fight again for more podiums and race wins and the championship next season.
“Those podiums and wins are what motivate all of us and that’s why I know that everyone will pull out the stops over the winter again to make them happen. We will go into the testing program in a much better position than we were in 12 months ago because we’ve worked so hard to get the new electronics package to work this season. I am as motivated as ever and really looking forward to riding my bike again.”
Joining Haslam for the second straight year in 2014 will be the British rider Leon Haslam. The 30-year old was competed in 155 World Superbike races, a third on CBR machinery. He has 28 podium finishes, including three race wins since joining WSBK in 2003. He also finished runner-up in the series in 2010 behind winner Max Biaggi (retired, Aprilia).
Haslam also had some injuries while with Pata Honda; last season, he broke his leg during the Assen round in April.
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda CBR1000RR Superbike) says: “I’m very happy to have another go at it, really! This season has been pretty non-existent with the injury and the big learning curve we’ve had with the new electronics.
“So I’m excited to get back to full fitness and to have good go with the bike and see if we can turn the potential into success. We’ve made some really good steps recently but that’s been combined with some bad luck this year. Hopefully, that’s all out of the way now and we can keep making progress in the last few races and over winter testing.
“The Haslam link to Honda has been strong for many years and it was fantastic to win the Suzuka 8-hour this year. Hopefully we can go back and defend that next year, and I can’t wait to go into the next World Superbike season with the same bike, the same guys and have a proper go at it.”
Ronald ten Kate (Pata Honda Team Manager) says: “Jonathan has demonstrated great faith in this team over the years and we are, of course, overjoyed to have him back for a sixth World Superbike campaign. We have got to know each other very well over the years and one thing that comes across is his consistent and tenacious desire to get the very best out of the CBR – something he does year after year.
“Of course, with injuries, it has not been an easy season for him or for his team-mate, so we are very happy that Leon will join us again for next season. With two fit riders and some further development on the bike, we can look forward to 2014 with renewed confidence and optimism.”
Carlo Fiorani (Racing Operations Manager, Honda Motor Europe) says: “I do not think it is a secret that both Jonathan and Leon had some other options to consider for 2014, so we are, of course, delighted that we will be working with them again.
“We believe that there is a great level of mutual respect between us and we know that we have two fully-motivated riders who have the potential to fight for top honors. It’s good that they, too, know that the Honda they ride has equal potential and that they will have a team around them to help get the results that we all want to see.
“For many reasons, 2013 has been a difficult year for everyone, so we all hope that, with Dorna taking the series to new levels, we can have a 2014 season that is safe and successful, both for the riders and for the whole team.”