KENAN SOFUOGLU JOINS WINSTON TEN KATE HONDA
Winston Ten Kate Honda has announced that Kenan Sofuoglu will join the team as it aims for a record fifth World Supersport championship title in 2006.
The 22-year-old Turkish rider from Adapazari in northwest Turkey tested the championship-winning Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR in Qatar earlier this month, impressing team personnel with his quick adaptation to new machinery on an unfamiliar circuit and his constant improvements during the three-day test.
Sofuoglu finished second in the 2005 European Superstock championship riding a Yamaha and will join new team-mate and 2005 World Supersport champion, Sebastien Charpentier, for further testing in January before the 2006 championship gets underway in Qatar on 25 February next year.
Ronald ten Kate -- team manager
"We're really happy to have signed one of the youngest and brightest talents in the World Superbike paddock after our recent test in Qatar showed Kenan's undoubted potential. It's always good to work with young riders that we can take forward to another level. We're hoping that we'll have all the new material in place for our next test in January, when Kenan will get another opportunity to learn some more about the CBR600RR and the way the team works."
"For me, this is just a fantastic surprise. One month ago I wasn't sure what I would be riding in 2006 but to have the chance to join Sebastien (Charpentier) in this amazing team is just like a dream. Every rider I know wants a Ten Kate machine so I am incredibly happy to have been given this opportunity. I would like to thank Gerrit and Ronald (ten Kate) for the opportunity to test the bike in the first place and I cannot wait to ride it again."
Carlo Fiorani -- sporting manager, Honda Europe Motorcycles
"We are delighted that Kenan has reached an agreement with Ten Kate to ride for the team in next year's World Supersport championship. It is a pleasure to welcome him to the Honda family, especially as he will be the very first Turkish rider to contest a world championship motorcycle racing series. We are all looking forward to the Winston Ten Kate Honda team helping to realise Kenan's potential on the Honda CBR600RR as they challenge for yet another world championship."
Daniel Torras -- Japan Tobacco International:
"Kenan will be joining one of the most successful teams in the paddock but the fact that the Ten Kate team has won the last four World Superport championships should put no pressure on him at all. He is young but he is clearly talented and this is a great opportunity from him to learn from the successful Winston Ten Kate Honda squad. I don't think he could have been given a better chance and we're looking forward to seeing Kenan in Winston colours in 2006."