Mar 2, 2002
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From a press release issued by Ten Kate Honda:<BR><BR>Riba leaves Ten Kate Honda<BR><BR>Spaniard Pere Riba has shocked the Supersport paddock by quitting the Ten Kate Honda team just days before the first race at Valencia. Riba has been lured away by Luis d' Antin to ride a two-stroke Yamaha 500 for the Spanish team as a replacement for Alex Criville.<BR><BR>Winter testing showed the great potential of the Ten Kate Honda CBR600FS and Riba had always professed himself to be very happy with the bike, the Pirelli tyres and the WP suspension. He looked set to be a serious contender in the competition and stood a very real chance of being World Champion at the end of the season.<BR><BR>Ten Kate Honda team manager, Ronald ten Kate was obviously shocked at Riba'slast minute move, "I am absolutely stunned by his decision to quit," admitted ten Kate. "While I obviously wish him well on the 500 I am very surprised at the move, he had been going so well on the CBR and never once seemed unhappy in the team. Last year he was the model of responsibility, ethics and sportsmanship, so for him to leave us in the lurch like this seems very out of character."<BR><BR>It seems d'Antin's hand was forced in the matter, as he relies heavily upon the sponsorship he receives from Spanish Oil giant, Repsol.<BR><BR>"Unfortunately it seems we are the victim of politics as d'Antin's Repsol insisted that Criville should be replaced by another Spanish rider," confirmed ten Kate.<BR><BR>"The rest of the team are gutted by Riba's actions," he explained, "they've worked so hard with Riba and helped him to achieve the level he is now at. But we're not convinced that this is a good career move by Riba, especially because of the manner in which he has made it."<BR><BR>Riba's move leaves the team with less than a week to find a new rider ready for the opening race of the season at Valencia.<BR><BR>"We are already talking with a replacement rider and should be in a position to make an announcement very soon," confirmed ten Kate. "We very much regret that we may be forced into a situation where we have to poach a rider from another team. But we hope we can resolve any possible situation with another team amicably."