Press releases announcing that riders are going testing is the first sign of motorcycle racing's equivalent of spring. Today, Honda (no longer Castrol Honda, though Castrol remain as a "key secondary partner") announced that their World Superbike riders Johnny Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama are to go testing at Phillip Island this week, in the run up to the first WSBK round there at the end of February. The long wait is nearly over for race fans.
Below is the official press release from Honda:
Rea and Aoyama head for Phillip Island Superbike test
Honda's new World Superbike Championship pairing of Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama kick off their preparations for the 2012 season with a three-day test at Phillip Island in Australia this week (17-19 January).
The team will be running the SBK race specification 2012 CBR1000RR Fireblade for the first time since the 20th anniversary version of Honda's iconic sports machine was launched last September.
The team will start its 2012 campaign boosted by news that, following a year as title sponsor, Castrol will remain as a key secondary partner until the end of the 2013 season.
The global lubricants manufacturer used Honda's World Superbike effort as part of a worldwide marketing campaign to re-launch its Power 1 brand in 2011. Its continued support of the team extends a commercial and technical partnership between Honda and Castrol which dates back to 1959, when the Japanese manufacturer first started world championship racing.
Robert Watherston, motorcycle racing manager at Honda Motor Europe, said:
"We're delighted that Castrol has decided to continue its long-standing association with Honda and, in particular, our World Superbike campaign. We are especially please to have signed a two-year agreement, which takes us to the end of the 2013 season."
Donald Smith, sponsorship manager in Castrol's Global Marketing Unit commented:
"We are pleased to confirm the continuation of our long-standing relationship and support of Honda and motorcycle racing. World Superbikes is the ideal proving ground for the development of our advanced range of Castrol Power 1 lubricants and we look forward to the future of our continued relationship with Honda."