The Pata Honda World Superbike team has begun its 2015 campaign in earnest this week with riders Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark preparing to do battle for the world’s greatest prize in production motorcycle racing.
The Pata Honda duo began the week on Monday 12 January at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) near London in the UK where they took part in a range of physical tests and assessments with Honda riders from a range of other racing disciplines.
Reigning World Superbike champion Guintoli, 32, is ready to defend his title on Honda’s CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine, saying: “Monday was a fantastic way to dust myself off again after winter. It was also great to be together with Mikey and the other Honda riders, getting ready to compete again! The tests we did were really interesting and it’s been a really good way to start the season.”
Van der Mark is also a reigning world champion having secured the 2014 World Supersport title before moving up to World Superbikes for the coming season. The 22-year-old Dutch rider has carried out assessments at the EIS before and is also looking forward to the season ahead.
“Monday was a really nice day, although it was quite long,” he said, “and it was good to start battling with Sylvain! We had some fun and I think I’ve made some good improvements in my overall fitness since I was last here.”
The Pata Honda riders began a private, three-day test at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimao in Portugal today (Wednesday 14 January). From Portugal, the team will transfer to Motorland Aragon in Spain for a two-day next next week.
Following the 2015 Pata Honda team presentation at Motor Bike Expo in Verona, Italy on Saturday 24 January, Guintoli and van der Mark will return to Spain for a final European test at Jerez.
After Jerez, the team trucks will return to the team’s workshop in the Netherlands where the CBR machines and other equipment will be packed into flight cases for a further test at Phillip Island in Australia, followed by the first round of the 2015 World Superbike Championship there on 22 February.