Castrol Honda will have a changed rider line-up for the third event running but have been boosted by the return of Jonathan Rea. The Northern Irishman suffered fractures to his arm and collarbone in a warm-up crash at Misano in June but is finally back to full fitness for this weekend's meeting at the Nurburgring.
The circuit, located 70km south of Cologne, is among Rea's favourites having won there on two occasions. While he isn't promising a repeat of that this time, the 24 year old is glad to be back.
“I can't wait to get back on the bike in a race weekend situation at Nurburgring. The test at Assen last week was great for me to ride and work with the team again, but I'm really looking forward to doing it for real again this weekend. Assen was also good from a confidence point of view, because the lap time was pretty good and I was able to complete a lot of laps without any pain from the wrist.”
“Unfortunately, I've missed a few races because of the injury, but I've got a new target for the end of the season and I know what I need to do to achieve that. The good thing is that the guys have been working really hard back at base since I've been away, and there were some good new things to test last week. I'm really looking forward to using them this weekend.”
With regular teammate Ruben Xaus recovering from his own injury, Rea will be joined by Makoto Tamada who makes his first appearance since the end of last year. The Japanese rider has victories in MotoGP and World Superbikes to his name and is looking forward to his return to the series.
“It’s great to be back racing in the World Superbike series. I want to thank Castrol Honda for giving me this opportunity. I am looking forward to working with the team and Jonathan, and I'm also looking forward to meeting my European fans.”
Team Manager Ronald ten Kate is delighted to welcome back his number one rider and with Tamada also riding the CBR1000RR, he is hopeful that the team can gather extensive data on the developments they plan to race next year.
“Everyone is really happy that Jonathan is back for this weekend. He did a race simulation at Assen, which showed that he's quite fit again. It's certainly been a troublesome mid-season with injuries, but we've had good results with Jonathan at Nurburgring in the last two years, so we're all thrilled to have him back for this one. We're also looking forward to welcoming Makoto Tamada back to the championship. His level of experience will provide good feedback on the bike since we are already looking ahead to 2012. We are working on the development of new parts for next season so it will be good to hear his opinion, too.”