Honda confirms Haydens 2016 WSBK switch
HONDA have confirmed today that current MotoGP rider Nicky Hayden will switch to World Superbikes in 2016 to join the Ten Kate Honda Team alongside current WSBK rider Michael van der Mark.
Hayden, a former MotoGP World Champion, will be spearheading Honda’s campaign for the 2016 World Superbike season on-board the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP with new team-mate van der Mark.
Hayden joined the MotoGP class in 2003 with Repsol Honda after winning the AMA Superbike Championship in 2002. Since then the 34-year-old has started more than 200 Grand Prixs, scored 28 podiums, taken three race victories and won the MotoGP t**le with Honda in 2006.
The American is said to be ‘relishing a return to his superbike roots in 2016’ and to be continuing with Honda.
“Well, my next stop is Superbike with Honda!,” explained Hayden. “I’m very excited, obviously, to stick with Honda; it’s where I’ve had the most success in my career. World Superbikes is a championship that I followed closely as a kid when a lot of American riders were fighting at the front.
“It just seems like the right time and the right team to go with. I know I’ve got a lot to learn and it’s going to be a big challenge, but also I’m very motivated to start and learn what I can. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has supported me through my MotoGP career. We had a good run but now it’s time to move on and try something different.
The Kentucky Kid will be teaming up with 22-year-old van der Mark for 2016 – a rider who has followed Honda’s rider development programme. The Dutch rider has won both the 2012 European Superstock 600 series and last year’s World Supersport Championship on Honda’s CBR600RR.
Team Manager Ronald ten Kate is delighted to have Hayden on-board and is more than happy with his team’s line-up for 2016.
“It’s well known that, at Ten Kate, we always have been and always will be Honda,” said ten Kate. “There is only be one person in the world who could possibly be more Honda than us, and that’s Nicky Hayden! That’s why I’m absolutely delighted that he’ll be joining us for next season.
The first test for the Ten Kate Team will be in Spain during the month of November which will allow Hayden to familiarise himself with the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP for the first time.