Photo Courtesy of Honda
After his ride’s funding for 2016 evaporated, Honda stepped up to the plate to give PJ Jacobsen a shot at the World Supersport title.
It may not have been a smooth journey, but Patrick “PJ” Jacobsen finally landed a permanent seat for the 2016 World Supersport championship with Honda. The 22-year-old had already made a name for himself in the the series last year, winning twice – in Sepang, Malaysia and Magny Cours, France – and collecting seven podiums overall and two pole positions. Arguably an impressive achievement, considering that the American was forced to switch to a new team and machinery midway through the season due to financial issues on the squad’s behalf.
Jacobsen’s surge resulted in an offer from Core Motorsport and Ten Kate – which originally opted for a joint effort – to continue in World Supersport with Honda machinery. Given the Dutch engineering’s record of nine titles in the category, Jacobsen appeared as the most legitimate candidate for the top prize together with Kenan Sofuoglu and Jules Cluzel. However, the Thai sponsor unexpectedly terminated its commitment, leaving Jacobsen and Ten Kate in a state of uncertainty for more than two months. Thankfully, Honda was keen on keeping Jacobsen within the family and recovered the extra budget.
“We’re happy to have PJ under Honda’s wing for the 2016 season,” said Marco Chini, Honda’s World Superbike Operations Manager. “Last year he showed everybody what he’s capable of and he surely deserved this new shot at the title. PJ’s talent, combined with Ten Kate’s vast experience in the series, make us very confident for the season ahead.”
“I feel really good going into the new season with Honda and I can’t wait to get started,” added Jacobsen. “It’s great to have the opportunity to race with Honda and Ten Kate. The goals for the season are high. I finished second in the championship last year, so the only thing left is to get the number one spot. It’s not going to be easy as there are a lot of competitive riders out there this year, but the key will be to be riding at the front, race in, race out. I intend to take every round as it comes though, starting at Phillip Island of course.”
Jacobsen, whose last time on track with the CBR600 dates back to last November in Jerez, won’t have to wait long. The traditional tests in Australia ahead of the opening round are scheduled within less than three weeks.