HANNspree Ten Kate Honda is the most successful World Supersport team ever. Results in the past aren’t always a guarantee for the future. That however won’t stop the team from aiming high! Former world champion Fabien Foret signed up with the Dutch team again. He is joined by fellow French rider and young talent Florian Marino. I sat down with both riders for an interview!
HANNSPREE TEN KATE HONDA
The Ten Kate Honda Team is a legend within the World Supersport class. Since they joined the class in 2001 they managed to win the title a whopping 8 times! With Foret, Vermeulen, Muggeridge, Charpentier (2x), Pitt and Sofuoglu (2x) the team conquered the world.
Now, Fabien Foret has made his return to the Dutch team. After winning the title in the past, it almost seems like a match made in heaven to win the title again. However, the World Supersport class this year has been incredibly exciting and tight. Starting the year with injury and bad luck didn’t help. Winning the title will be a big challenge.
Florian Marino joins his countrymen within the team. The 17-year-old won the Superstock 600 European Championship last year and made the move up to the World Championship. Give the rookie some time, and he will be up there fighting for the championship!
I had the joy to interview both riders ahead of the Dutch round in Assen.
INTERVIEW FABIEN FORET
You have been riding in the World Supersport for several years. How does it feel for you to come back to the team you won the championship with back in 2002?
It is a good feeling! We know each other very well, which makes it easy. The bike is pretty good, so we have the package to perform well. All we need now is some more luck to get the results.
During the race at Phillip Island, (Australia) you had a flat tire, just like some other riders. Do you talk with Pirelli, your team and with the other riders over this accident?
No, not really. After the race, I had two injured fingers, so I went to the hospital in Melbourne. I got my fingers operated on, so at the end of the day we didn’t speak about this issue with anyone. There is also not much we can change about it.
At Donington Park (United Kingdom), the decision was made that you can’t race. Did you make the decision, or was it with the team?
The decision was made by Ronald (team manager) and me. Also, the medical team of the track gave the advice. I tried to ride the bike, but it wasn’t possible. So together we made the decision not to ride.
In 2002, you were World Champion in the World Supersport, does that mean that you have a certain status in France? Are you more recognized than before, do the French people still know your championship?
Yeah, for sure, the fans who follow the Superbikes they know. But in some counties I have more fans, like Italy, I don’t know why maybe they like my riding style, but the fans always wave at me.
What is your favourite circuit?
I don’t have one favourite circuit. I can say I like Phillip Island, Assen and Monza a lot. Likewise, I think the races I did well in, I would like to race.
What are your expectations for Assen?
I hope I feel really good with the bike and with my fingers, but I think that will be ok. Hopefully we have good weather and I just want to enjoy my ride, and honestly I would be really happy to be on the podium.
INTERVIEW FLORIAN MARINO
Last year, you were racing in the European Superstock Championship for the Ten Kate Junior Team. Is the change to the World Supersport easier, because you are still riding for the Ten Kate Team. Or is the step from Superstock to Supersport still difficult?
Yeah, for sure the step was quite big, and I still improve every time I step on the bike. And in the beginning it wasn’t too easy, and after a long winter I know the bike. First we tested in Portugal, and then we went to Phillip Island and I see the more that I ride the bike, the more the feeling is good.
Before I can ride to the top, it will take some time, so I will do it step by step. For the team it is all the same, but for me, it is a step higher.
At Phillip Island you had a worse start and because of that you were almost last. But during the race you climbed up to 7th place. Were you at the end of the weekend happy about your World Supersport debut?
Yeah, for sure I was happy, it was a great race for me and a great experience for me. Before the race I did a four day’s testing and I improve so much compare to Portimao, so the beginning was good and for the race I want to make a good start and push as much as I can to follow the lead, but unfortunately I missed the start, and I was last but during the race my lap time was even so good as the men in the front so yeah I was happy.
At Donington Park, you drove a flawless race. You were 8th and were battling with Massimo Rocolli. Are you satisfied with your classification, or do you think there was more to it?
When we arrived the setting wasn’t good and for the race I tried everything to be in front of Rocolli. For me, the race was OK. I gave 100%, and after looking at the data we’ve got it was OK.
What are your expectations for Assen and the rest of the season?
Assen isn’t my home circuit, but I like it very much. At Assen, I rode the most races of my career, so I want to do well for me and my team. I would like to improve and come a little more to the front. I hope to finish the races and get good points.
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