Race peace is fragile. Some companies come in, others are destined to leave the scene. Competition does not spare even 10-times Champions: the potential exhausted? It’s time to change something? If the projects do not change inside, you change it, those who once chose their partner. What happened to the Ten Kate Racing and why Honda Racing Corporation has announced that it will go its own way in WSBK?
RACING.RU, December 2, 2018 – At the Milan EICMA Motorcycle-2018 Honda all of a sudden announced the launch of its own racing program in World Superbike and not a continuation of the project with the Dutch TKR. HRC announced the signing of a contract with two new partners – Japan Moriwaki, which will take care of all the technical part of the project, as well as Italian Althea Racing, which shoulders will fall the burden of all “racing operations” is logistics, management, management garage, sport, hospitality and effectiveness.
The announcement about the launch of the new team left in the shade after a high-profile presentations of new factory team BMW Motorrad Motorsport with the new BMW S 1000 RR, Ducati run V4 R. Just news about BMW and Ducati have all been waiting impatiently, and as soon as they appeared, they were published with a huge fanfare.
Honda all once again stumped: on Tuesday evening in Milan, few understand what happened, and why there’s not one familiar face from the past.
A couple of days the news about the launch of a new racing project literally frozen. The fact that the presentation at EICMA managers HRC present in the room and behind the scenes, refused to give any comments. Especially about the fate of Ten Kate. The interview was given only 2-3 selected journalists with a commitment to publish it before 1 December.
And here, on November 27, Ten Kate Racing declares bankruptcy… to hide something does not make sense.
World Superbike is entering a new era. No Aprilia, but with the factory BMW team, enhanced pilot Ducati MotoGP team, strengthened during the two years the factory Yamaha. All this against the background of total flooding of the Kawasaki Racing Team. It is expected that Jonathan ray now is not one competitor (Davis): 3 to 1 – is more likely to undermine the position of the Irish. However, the chances of BMW to fire in his first season is not as high as, for instance, from Ducati, which urgently need to strengthen their positions under increasing pressure from Yamaha.
What is Honda? Why make a decision at such a difficult time to completely change policies and relationships that lasted 16 years?
Ten Kate Racing was the exclusive partner of the HRC all this time. In Honda Europe came the command, wishing to speak on a Honda CBR600 and 1000, but they were sent to TKR where they were purchased or prepared motorcycles or engines and parts, and TKR received the source material from Honda and Cosworth. The time has come when the scheme has ceased to hold Honda. Finally, plants were transferred to a single control electronics (spec ECU) Magneti Marelli. The technology, developed in collaboration with Cosworth for Formula 1, and migrated from there to MotoGP, and then in WSBK, lost its relevance as well as the analog throttle ceased to be a trend in the market of sport bikes, and replaced the ride-by-wire with multi-level traction control, engine braking and anti-wheelie, etc. a Revolution has occurred in just a couple of years… 2012 was a huge failure in the project Honda in WSBK.
But Ten Kate has not received from Honda a new technology – it didn’t exist. Its nothing for all this time the Dutch also did not come up, just leading the development and improvement of already existing forms in the relevant plant documentation.
And HRC and R&D of Honda Motor Co. developed new control schemes, a private, not purchased from the partners. They appeared in 2015, in 2016 first tested in the Wolrd Superbike, and there were in the new Fireblade MY17 – one of the most perfect and controlled Superbikes on the race track and the highway. When Ten Kate received new bikes, two years on the development of new niches is clearly not enough.
Meanwhile, in Japan was a lot of work behind closed doors.
Moriwaki, one of the nearest neighbors Honda in Japan, created in his time a lot of race based products CBR600RR/CBR1000RR and also for Moto2. It is enough to remember the debut of the Moto2 in 2010: chassis Moriwaki brought victory in the championship Toni Elias, it was the perfect bike for the engine from the CBR600RR, and how the Japanese have learned all the secrets of Moto2, not from the chief technical supplier? In fact, MD600 appeared long before the global category of Moto2. Just as first there was the prototype Honda NSF250R, and then Dorna Sports has launched the Moto3 class.
But one of the interesting key points. Like all customers of HRC, Moriwaki ordered Fireblade chassis for Suzuka 8 Hours at the factory. But like other customers from Japan, the team received a motorcycle, designed for Bridgestone tyres – all team Honda in JSBK-1000 and Suzuka 8 Hours perform at Bridgestone! But in 2016 Moriwaki involved in All-Japanese SBK on the Pirelli tires. Then it was a strange decision… Now, their plans are clear: all the time in Moriwaki created his own Fireblade, World Superbike testing it in JSBK-1000 – no team from Japan can not be in World Superbike, and Moriwaki – may. And this is clearly not a coincidence.
Riuchi Kiyonari was a pilot Moriwaki 2016 and participated in all the tests HRC. The Japanese, who became a 3x British Superbike champion and the winner of many races of World Superbike, three years was preparing to return to the “world”.
When Moriwaki and Honda Racing sat at the table of negotiations, this meeting was doomed to contract already have vast experience operating an Italian tire and a Japanese pilot with an impressive career.
Leon Came as a star of world scale, as a pilot, involved in all the activities of the Red Bull Honda World Superbike – and the strongest of the pilots Honda over the last 5-6 years, even despite the injury, got the contract – a choice at the HRC simply did not have.
Mamoru Moriwaki, boss Moriwaki Racing was also present in Milan on the day of the announcement, but reviews thing. The only thing he said was: “When [in 2017] came the new Fireblade, we decided to participate in all the categories, at least in Japan JSB1000 and Suzuka 8 Hours, as required, and we missed these Championships for 10 years. For us it was very important that Kiyonari-San agreed to continue with us, he said that Moriwaki is his No. 1 choice, and really, there was no doubt. Who in Japan is stronger than Kio? We were very happy. Well, that’s what it led to – we promised him to return him to World Superbike” – enough said to understand how it came to light this whole plan.
It is obvious that all the decisions are made really in the last moment: neither Althea nor Moriwaki, nor Honda did not have time to seriously prepare for the presentation. Representatives of all parties called to Milan, they were at the presentation, but modestly hiding on the opposite side from the cameras, behind a small fence where they would not let any journalists or spectators.
As for the Italian Althea Racing-like structure, this team already proved in the past their professionalism. In collaboration with Feel Racing Althea in 2011, he won two world titles for Ducati in the Superbike World championship, with Carlos Cotter and in STK-1000 with David Giuliano. Moreover, the Manager of Ducati Corse in the Superbike Ernesto Marinelli to the last assured that Althea is not the “factory team” in the truest sense, but only uses the services of an extensive knowledge base of the plant and hands the pair of factory engineers. The chief of the garage, Marina Coppola has confirmed this information, lamenting the fact that even as the only supported factory team, Althea has the fifth budget shares of the main competitors – BMW, Aprilia and Kawasaki. What are the conditions of the contract with Honda is still unknown.
It is known that the Honda Moriwaki Superbike will feature pendants &214;hlins, Nissin brakes, and the engine with the electronics provided by the company itself HRC. Chassis modify Japanese Atelier under the supervision of Honda engineers. Now, everything is as it says – all-in-house – almost under the same roof. Moriwaki will conduct tests throughout the winter at private home tracks Honda in Japan, and as soon as the deadline of the ban on testing, will move to Europe, and will continue the development program there, thanks Althea bases in Italy and Spain.