After many years of success in the World Superbike and World Supersport series, Ten Kate is to take their first steps in the MotoGP paddock. The Dutch race shop has been contracted by Gresini to supply race-prepared Honda CBR1000RR engines for Gresini's CRT machine in MotoGP, along with the fly-by-wire electronics system the Ten Kate team developed together with Cosworth for their World Superbike machine.
According to the Dutch racing website Racesport.nl, Ten Kate Racing Products, the commercial arm of the race team and the Honda dealership owned by Ronald and Gerrit ten Kate, signed a contract with the Gresini team just before Christmas to seal the agreement. Ten Kate will supply complete Honda CBR1000RR engines, tuned and prepared by them, along with a complete electronic system, including the fly-by-wire system used on the WSBK machine. The Ten Kate engine is to be fitted into a custom chassis designed and built by FTR. Both FTR and Gresini were very keen to work with Ten Kate, given their long experience and success in the World Superbike series.
Ten Kate had been widely expected to get involved in the Gresini project, after the team had decided - reportedly under pressure from Honda - that they would use the CBR1000RR unit in their CRT machine. There are concerns that the relatively narrow bore of the CBR - at 76mm, 5mm below the maximum of 81mm allowed in the 2012 regulations - would make the bike uncompetitive, as it is harder to get the power from a long-stroke engine. But the bike has proven competitive against the RSV4 and BMW S1000RR in World Superbikes, particularly once the fly-by-wire electronics had been made legal. With the new electronics, Johnny Rea scored two poles, one win and a handful of podium positions. The hope is that the FTR Honda will be competitive enough at the lower-speed circuits, though it will probably lose out at big horsepower circuits such as Qatar and Mugello.