2014 World Superbike / World Supersport Pata Honda Team Launch
With the 2014 World Superbike Championship less than a month from the 14-round season opener at Phillip Island, Australia, many teams are launching their machines that are donned in the latest livery.
One team – Pata Honda – used the Motor Bike Expo in Verona, Italy, to complete this feat. Pata – Italy’s famous snack maker that is 70 miles away from Verona – will once again be the main sponsor of Honda’s factory efforts in both World Superbike and World Supersport; this is the second year Pata is the title sponsor.
The rider lineup remains the same as last season, also. In World SBK, the British riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will pilot Pata onda CBR1000RR Fireblade machinery.
In World Supersport, both Dutch rider Michael van der Mark and Italy’s Lorenzo Zanetti will begin their sophomore years in the series; both riders will pilot Pata Honda CBR600RR supersport machines.
Following is what the team riders and other uppers at the show had to say about the upcoming 2014 World Superbike / World Supersport championships:
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) says: “It was quite difficult at times in 2013 and the season ended badly in injury, but my leg feels OK now. It’s not quite 100% and I have some discomfort walking on it, but on the bike it’s fine.
“This team feels like a family to me now and knowing all the faces and how the team works helps me to get the best out of the package and the people around me. We all share the same goals but it feels like there’s been a change of mentality for this season – everyone is even more focused than usual. By the time we get to Phillip Island we will have tested a lot, and we’re really pushing hard, so I think that if anyone is in good shape to challenge at the front when the season starts, it’ll be me and my team.”
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) says: Last season was definitely one to forget for me. We started a little bit on the back foot and then I broke my leg just after round two. I’m training again quite strongly now and the team’s been working 24-7 on the bike, mainly on the electronics, so we’ll be aiming to maximize what we have from the start of the season and see where that puts us.
“It’s fantastic to have Pata back on board this year – it’s a really good, family-run company and I didn’t really get a chance to show them what I’m capable of last year. I’d love to repay them with some podiums and some wins this season and have some good after-race parties!”
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) says: “We have already tested the CBR600RR and there have been a lot of improvements which we noticed immediately. The team has overcome some of the big problems we had last year with some new software updates so we can head into the new season with some confidence.
“I was very happy with my first season in World Supersport and to get on the podium in my first race at Phillip Island was fantastic. So, it’s great to be back with the team again and I can’t wait to start racing again.”
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) says: “Yes, I think I improved a lot as a rider last year after quite a difficult start. The bike has definitely improved as well, especially in the electronics, and I think we have a good way forward for this coming season. I am really looking forward to working with this team again and to challenging for the podium in every race.”
Ronald ten Kate (Pata Honda Team Manager) says: “It’s clear that 2013 wasn’t a great year for us – the riders got injured quite heavily but, in a way, that allowed us to step back and review the whole situation, looking at the bike and what we would be needing for the coming season. So, we’ve had a big development plan and brought in a lot of parts for the bike. The electronics have been upgraded massively over the winter and we’ve got a good testing program, so I think we can say we’re better prepared than ever before.
“The new Honda Fireblade SP is good step forward, especially for road riders and those taking it on to the track. We’re already using a lot of that upgraded technology like suspension and brakes, and the engine improvements will be useful, too. We’re pulling out all the stops and with four talented and determined riders, I firmly believe that we can compete for race wins this season and even two championships.”
Carlo Fiorani (Honda Motor Europe) says: “It is very nice for us to have Pata and Tonello and all our other sponsors with us again for the 2104 season. They have once again confirmed their support for this team, even though the results last year were not very good.
“We had two big crashes with our Superbike riders and we had many issues, so its good that we can retain the trust of our sponsors and we will try our hardest to reward their continued faith. The team has worked hard, even over the Christmas period, to make a competitive Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP for the 2014 season. The bike is a step forward from last year and, of course, we will be pushing harder than ever to get some good results.”