WSBK

Jonathan Rea to return at Nurburgring

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Jonathan Rea will make his long-awaited return to the Castrol Honda team in this weekend's (2-4 September) tenth round World Superbike championship event at Nurburgring in Germany.
Makoto Tamada will fill in for Ruben Xaus
The Northern Irishman has been out of action since a raceday warm-up crash at Misano in Italy on 12 June. In addition to fractures to his arm and collarbone, Rea required complex surgery to repair ligament damage to his right wrist following the crash.

After completing a successful two-day test at Assen in the Netherlands last week, Rea, 24, has chosen a favoured circuit to make his return. In the last two visits, he has taken his Honda CBR1000RR to two wins, a second and a fourth place at the 5.137km Nurburgring, which sits 70km south of Cologne, adjacent to the famous Nordschleife road circuit.

"I can't wait to get back on the bike in a race weekend situation at Nurburgring," Rea enthused.

"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.

Rea will be joined for the weekend in the Castrol Honda World Superbike Team by Japanese rider, Makoto Tamada, who returns to the series for the first time since riding as a replacement in the final round of last season's championship.

Tamada will replace Ruben Xaus, who is still suffering the after effects of his race one crash at Brno in the Czech Republic in July. Despite testing on the first day at Assen last week, Xaus's back injury prevented him from completing more than a handful of laps and the Spaniard has opted to miss Nurburgring.

"It's great to be back racing in the World Superbike series," Tamada said, "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.

Hailing from Ehime in Japan, Tamada, 34, completed two full World Superbike seasons on Kawasaki machinery in 2008 and 2009 following five years with Honda in MotoGP, which resulted in two Grand Prix victories. Earlier in his career, he also scored three wildcard World Superbike victories at Sugo in Japan in 2001 and 2002 and is a regular podium visitor in Japan's famous Suzuka 8 Hour race.

Team manager, Ronald ten Kate, added, "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," he concluded.

Main Photo: Jonathan Rea testing at Assen last week

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