British rider Kyle Smith has been announced as the rider to take on Michael van der Mark’s title-winning Pata Honda CBR600RR in the 2015 World Supersport championship.
Smith, 23, was born near Huddersfield in the UK but moved to Spain with his family aged six. He lives in Calpe, 120km south of Valencia, in the region where he began his racing career.
After some years and regional championships in junior motocross, Smith had his first road race in Majorca in 2004, but it wasn’t for another three years that he began to race consistently, ending up in Spain’s CEV 125GP series.
After forays in Formula Extreme and Moto2, he competed in three European Superstock 600 races on a Racedays Honda CBR600RR in 2013, taking victory at Jerez in Spain before stepping up to the Superstock 1000 series last season.
With two podiums from the eight races, Smith’s performance earned him eighth place overall and the attention of the Pata Honda World Supersport team management.
Smith’s first test will be with the Pata Honda team at Phillip Island in Australia, just ahead of this season’s first World Supersport championship round on 22 February, and the young Yorkshireman is relishing the challenge ahead
This is a fantastic opportunity for me – I’ve got the bike, I’ve got the team behind me, I’ve got support from Honda, so I think this is going to be a year for me to prove who I am. I like CBR machines and although there is a bunch of new tracks for me to learn this year, I’ve not had too many difficulties learning new circuits in the past. It starts at Phillip Island which everyone seems to like and I’ve watched loads of videos of races there, so I can’t wait. Set-up is the big thing, of course, but, with the experience of the Pata Honda team behind me, I couldn’t be in a better position. I always put pressure on myself and I always race to win. That’s what I aim to be doing this season.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
Supersport for us has always been like a breeding ground where we try to bring on young riders that we believe in. Kyle matches that requirement and he showed some quite exceptional performances on the Honda CBR in Superstock 1000 last year. He’s shown that he’s a proper racer and, on a proven bike in an experienced team, we really think he can do well. We’re hoping to get him at least on the podium, but I think sometimes he’ll be able to do even better than that.