Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 08 Oct 2015
Honda have confirmed that Nicky Hayden will join Michael van der Mark in the Ten Kate Honda World Superbike team next season.
As we reported last week, the 2006 MotoGP World Champion makes the move after two difficult years in MotoGP’s open class, unable to compete on the struggling open Honda.
Hayden will join the team alongside 2014 World Supersport Champion, Michael van der Mark with the pair set to compete on Honda’s CBR1000RR Fireblade SP.
The Honda hasn’t proven too competitive in the Superbike class in recent times. Their two current riders Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark sit sixth and seventh respectively in the championship standings.
While van der Mark has taken three podiums this year, the bike’s last victory was in the hands of Jonathan Rea at Portimao last season.
The Fireblade isn’t expected to be updated for 2016 but, at the very least, a more powerful engine is expected for the 2017 season.
“These last two years haven’t been so good and I wasn’t in position to be able to get the results on the open Honda to keep a high level ride in MotoGP,” said Hayden announcing the deal in Japan. “I’ve always thought Superbike might be something I would like to try as I like the racing there and the opportunity felt like a good fit.
“I’m obviously getting a bit older but I still enjoy the sport and thought it’d be a fresh challenge to go there and try to have a bit more fun. Of course I’ll miss MotoGP, I’ve had a great opportunity here, have been part of some great teams and worked with some great people but nothing lasts forever, that’s life you just have to keep moving.”
Hayden will replace the outgoing World Champion Sylvain Guintoli in the team as the Frenchman departs to join the all new Crescent Yamaha squad.
It’s not yet known which colours the Ten Kate Honda team will run next season following the departure of title sponsor PATA (set to join Crescent and Yamaha).