The new team will feature riders Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus campaigning Honda’s CBR1000RR, with the squad run by the Netherlands-based Ten Kate Racing outfit, who have led Honda’s World Superbike effort since 2004.
Castrol’s association with Honda’s motorcycle racing activities goes all the way back to the Japanese manufacturer’s first foray into the sport at the Isle of Man TT in 1959 and the two companies celebrated 50 years of racing together in 2009.
While Castrol has maintained support of Honda’s annual World Superbike effort in recent years, its previous title sponsorship of the Castrol Honda team generated no fewer than three world titles, with John Kocinski in 1997 and then twice with fellow American rider Colin Edwards in 2000 and 2002.
For Jonathan Rea, 23, the new season (which opens on 27 February at Phillip Island in Australia) will be his third in the World Superbike championship. The Northern Irishman finished in fifth place in 2009, taking two wins, a tally he doubled last season on his way to fourth place in the championship. Ruben Xaus, meanwhile, first competed in the World Superbike championship in 1998 and finished as runner-up in 2003 before a two-year spell in MotoGP. The 32 year-old Spanish rider has 11 career wins to his name and a total of 35 podium finishes to date.
Ronald ten Kate – manager, Castrol Honda World Superbike Team: “When our world championship racing adventure was first beginning, many years ago, Castrol Honda was the one team in the paddock which everyone looked up to, whose professional and performance standards we all wanted to achieve. It is an honor for us now to be racing under this famous and historically successful banner and we are privileged to be following in the footsteps of the team we admired so much in the past.”
Jonathan Rea – # 4: “One of my main inspirations for racing was watching Castrol Honda’s Colin Edwards battle Troy Bayliss for the World Superbike championship in that epic season in 2002. It’s a real honor for me to be racing under those same famous colors for the 2011 season and I’ll be trying my hardest to recreate what Colin did for the Castrol Honda team. I think the bike looks fantastic and I know the Ten Kate guys back at the workshop have been working really hard on its technical development since last season finished so now I just can’t wait to get started.”
Ruben Xaus – # 111: “After many years of racing at world championship level it is very nice and important for me to be part of a big project like the new Castrol Honda team. The biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world is joining together with one of the biggest lubricants companies in the world and supporting the Ten Kate team, which has had a lot of success with many world championship titles. All together it’s a big and really exciting mixture and I will give my talent and every effort to help Castrol and the Honda CBR1000RR become a r