Jonathan Rea will stay with the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team for a third season after the team exercised an option on his services for 2011.The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland is enjoying his best season in World Superbike, including four wins, the most recent coming last weekend at the Nurburgring in Germany. Rea also swept both races at Assen in April and won a single round at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic.
It adds up to third in the championship, but at a distance. Rea sits 109 points behind series leader Max Biaggi (Alitalia Aprilia) and 51 behind Team Suzuki Alstare’s Leon Haslam. Rea might have been third in the championship, but for three DNF’s, including both races in Monza, as well as an off weekend at Misano; he finished 12th and 13th after qualifying 16th. Still, he’s on pace to finish a career best third in the championship.Who the Ten Kate Honda team will be sponsored by and the identity of the second rider has yet to be determined. It’s unlikely Hannspree, the Taiwanese electronics giant, will back the Dutch-owned squad next year. And it’s also thought to be unlikely that German Max Neukirchner will be back with the team.”I’m really happy to be staying with this fantastic team for another season,” Rea said in a team press release. “We’re all pulling in the same direction and we’re all really excited about the prospects for the Honda CBR1000RR. Even though I’m still only 23, the team has taught me an enormous amount about world championship racing, both on the track and off it and I’ve become a regular race winner. To become a championship winner, I recognise that I need continuity and that’s what I’ve got now. It’s no secret that my ultimate ambition is to compete in GPs but I’ll still only be 24 next season so I’m really happy to aim for the World Superbike title in 2011 and then hopefully take the next step forward after that within the Honda family.”