HM Plant Honda have lost both their British Superbike riders to the world stage and must now start the quest to replace Leon Haslam and Cal Crutchlow.
Haslam signed for Stiggy Honda this lunchtime and Crutchlow will move to the Yamaha World Superport team in 2009 to partner Fabien Foret.
It is believed that team bosses Neil Tuxworth and Havier Beltran have been in talks with Ten Kate’s Andrew Pitt and have also had meetings with newly-crowned Superstock champion Steve Brogan. It is also rumoured they have also had meetings with James Ellison, Steve Plater and Simon Andrews.
Beltran told www.biksportnews.com today: "Following Leon’s decision, we have had contact with riders from all over the world so we have a lot of decisions to make. Hopefully, we will have a much clearer picture as we go into the Brands Hatch round."
With all the upheaval in American Superbike racing, it is not known yet whether Neil Hodgson will remain in the States, so he could take one of the HM Plant seats.
American riders Jason DiSalvo, Josh Hayes and Jake Zemke have all expressed an interest in riding over here, and AMA Superport rider, Welshman Chaz Davies, is also looking for a ride. Gregorio Lavilla is also looking around for ride.
On the domestic front, Glen Richards and Ian Lowry are the only two riders from British Supersport who could make the jump to BSB. Richards is a proven race winner in all classes and many paddock insiders think Richards is a championship contender on the right bike, which he has never had.
Lowry is a hard-charging youngster but races with a maturity beyond his years, with the odd blip obviously.