For nearly a quarter of a century, Ten Kate was synonymous with Honda in World Superbike racing. They first started racing in World Supersport, and then later raced in both classes, gaining official support from Honda in 2001, and then becoming Honda's main flag bearer since 2005, winning titles in both World Superbike and World Supersport classes with big-name riders such as Michael van der Mark, James Toseland, Chris Vermeulen, and Kenan Sofuoglu.
So it came as a shock to the world when Honda announced they would not be continuing their partnership with Ten Kate for the 2019 WorldSBK season. Once, contract extensions were a formality, left until the last minute only because both parties knew they would be racing together the next season anyway. But all that changed on 30th October 2018.
If it was a shock to the racing world, imagine what a blow it was to Ronald ten Kate and the rest of the team when they were told at a meeting in Amsterdam that Honda had decided to partner with Moriwaki and the Althea team, and use Honda's Suzuka 8 Hour bike as a base for their WorldSBK campaign. At a stroke, the Ten Kate team were left without bikes, without backing, and without their main rider, Leon Camier, who was signed to Honda, rather than Ten Kate.
They were also left with mounting costs, having already invested many tens of thousands of Euros in the 2019 season. Equipment and parts had been ordered, and preparations already made. The team also had over 20 staff on the payroll, with no means to pay them. Driving home from the meeting in Amsterdam, that is where Ronald ten Kate's thoughts were, with the people he would have to lay off.