— Pata Honda World Supersport Team announces 2014 line-up
The Pata Honda team has announced that its rider line-up for the 2014 World Supersport championship season will remain unchanged with Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti aiming for the title once more.
Both van der Mark and Zanetti were rookies to the series this season and currently hold fourth and fifth places respectively in the points table, with the final round scheduled for Jerez in Spain on 20 October.
Van der Mark stepped up to World Supersport after his European Superstock 600 championship victory last season on board the Honda CBR600RR of the Ten Kate Junior team. His highlight of 2013, however, has arguably been winning the Suzuka 8-hour race alongside Takumi Takahashi and his Pata Honda World Superbike team-mate Leon Haslam.
The 20-year-old Dutch rider from Rotterdam impressed at the first 2013 World Supersport round in Australia last February, taking a podium finish on his debut. Van der Mark has visited the podium at two further races so far this season.
After contesting the World Superbike championship last year, Zanetti, from Brescia in Italy, has adapted well to Honda’s CBR600RR and has also tasted champagne on the rostrum this season at his home round of Monza.
In spite of injuries sustained in a crash at Moscow, the 26-year-old has found an impressive level of consistency as the season has progressed and is targeting regular podium finishes as part of his 2014 title campaign.
Michael van der Mark – “I am really happy to have my plans fixed with the prospect of another year with the Pata Honda World Supersport team. This season has been really great and I think for next year we really can fight for the championship. I’m very thankful to the team, to Honda and to the sponsors like Pata that we can be in this position. This has been my first year in the world championship and I have learned a lot, but I think we can make another big step next season. I feel really comfortable in this team and I know the bike really well now, so I think we can already start next season in a better position than the beginning of this one.”
Lorenzo Zanetti – “It’s fantastic for me to continue with this team and in the class because for the last four years I have changed bikes and teams. It’s really difficult to learn a new bike at the beginning of the season so, for me, 2014 will be starting in a good way with a bike and a team that I already know. I think over the last few races I have begun to show my potential and this winter will be important to make the next steps and prepare to fight with Michael for the championship from the start of next season.”
Ronald ten Kate – team-manager – “We’re very happy with next year’s line-up because we’ve been very satisfied with this year’s performances from Michael and Lorenzo. For both riders it has been a rookie season in World Supersport and both have done really well. At the end of this season there is still a fight for third position so we believe there is a lot more to come. They are great guys to work with – on the track and off it – and they have a really good working relationship, both between themselves and with the team, so it’s an almost a perfect combination.”
Carlo Fiorani – racing operations manager, Honda Motor Europe – “The decision on our Supersport rider line-up was based on different reasons for each rider. For Michael, we think that it will be good for him to have another season in this championship before stepping up to a bigger class. With his brilliant result at the Suzuka 8-hour race this year he has shown his great potential on a bigger machine, but we would like to have him for another year in Supersport to improve his competition skills and racecraft at the top of a world championship. We think he will certainly be a protagonist in the title next year. Lorenzo learned his craft on smaller bikes and that experience has been very useful for Michael this year. He has also had a year to learn our machine after coming from Superbike last year and has really shown an improvement and demonstrated his potential in the last few races. We are very happy that he will continue that development next year and fight for the 2014 world championship.”
The final round of the 2013 World Supersport championship featuring Pata Honda riders Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti will take place at Jerez in Spain over the weekend of 18-20 October.