Honda has announced that it will sponsor next season's European Junior Cup a championship designed to identify and develop young motorcycle racing talent from around the world.
From next season, Honda will be the main sponsor and technical partner of the series, which will support up to eight European rounds of the FIM World Superbike championship, sharing the paddock with top Honda riders such as Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam.
Young riders from 14-19 years and based in countries from Europe to Asia, as well as the USA and Australia, will race on an exciting new Honda sports machine that is expected to be launched at the forthcoming EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy (15-18 November), when further details of the 2013 European Junior Cup will also be announced.
The prize for the winner of the championship will be a ride the following season in a Honda team in the UEM Superstock 600 European Championship, endorsing Honda's leadership in nurturing young motorcycle racing talent for future world championships.
Carlo Fiorani, racing operations manager of Honda Motor Europe, commented: "This is another exciting announcement that confirms Honda's commitment to develop young racing talent. We are basing it on a pyramid structure that begins with national championships around the world, like the NSF100 and Hornet series, and builds to the very top level of world championship racing."
He added: "Michael van der Mark is a great example of this progression and he has progressed from a Junior Cup in the Netherlands, to Superstock 600 and, next season, to the World Supersport championship with Pata Honda. A ride in the Superstock 600 series in 2014, is the first prize in the new European Junior Cup."
Gerry Bryce, of Racedays Promotions, the Germany-based company that will organise and promote the European Junior Cup, said: "Racedays are very pleased to join Honda in their exciting global development programme for young riders. The European Junior Cup format has proved to be a great success and we look forward to working with Honda, Pirelli, and the World Superbike Championship to produce the next generation of top level road racers."