With Pitt and Sofuoglu
Honda in general and Ten Kate Honda in particular have proved imperious in the WSS series recently with seven straight Riders' Championships, one for the CBR600FS in 2002 and then the CBR600RR from then on.
The 2007 WSS champion Kenan Sofuoglu
(Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) and the 2001 and 2008 champion Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR) are teamed up in the Hannspree Ten Kate garage this year, making a strong play case for this being the WSS dream team of all time.
"I am very happy and cannot wait to race my bike again next weekend”, said Sofuoglu. “It was a little difficult to find a rhythm on the first day of this test but it all came together on day two and the bike is feeling fantastic again. There is still some more to come but I'm comfortable with the bike, the team and everything, so I'm really feeling positive for the season ahead."
"The times have been pretty good, even though we had a few problems yesterday and only managed about an hour in the morning when the conditions here are at their best. We made some changes and today I did a few laps first thing, changed tyres and was on it straight away. I'm looking forward to the race next weekend, especially starting the season at home as world champion”, commented Pitt.
Honda machines are a popular choice for 2009 as usual, and as well as the Ten Kate riders there are several top level CBR600RR entries in with chances of podium finishes or more.
Hannspree Honda Althea returns once more in WSS, with Mark Aitchison and Matthieu Lagrive, but they have internally promoted Tommy Hill from WSS to WSB, in a lone rider CBR1000RR set-up.
Another potent pairing, this time in WSS, is new full-time rider Eugene Laverty and seasoned Parkalgar Honda competitor Miguel Praia. Unlike most other Honda teams, the Parkalgar riders did not get the chance to ride at Phillip Island in recent tests, but they will be running 2009 machinery, while some others in WSS, notably Ten Kate, will be on 2008 bikes at the start of the season.
"The waiting is almost over for me and I can't wait to get on track and competing for a championship”, said Laverty.
“After two years on an uncompetitive 250cc GP bike it is brilliant to be racing a competitive four-stroke again and with a team that I have the utmost confidence and faith in. I know Phillip Island so hopefully I can adapt quickly to the track and be near the front from the start. I hope that I can come away with a decent haul of points or maybe even a podium finish. One thing's for sure, my Championship challenge starts here and I'll be giving it my all."