Honda America has announced it's withdrawal from the AMA Superbike series due to the current economic climate – and this now leaves British former World Superbike Champion Neil Hodgson looking for a job.
The British former World Superbike Champion put in a storming performance at the recent Daytona tyre test, finishing more than a second faster than Yamaha's Ben Bostrom at the end of three days on track and was looking a favourite to take the AMA American Superbike title.
"My head's spinning right now. I only found out about it last night just before I went to bed so I've got a thousand questions for Honda right now," said Hodgson, speaking to www.bikesportnews.com this morning.
"Obviously I don't know what I am going to do now. I have a contract with Honda which lasts until the end of next year but we will have to see what they say, but I'm still fast and I might well be available. I was looking forward to 2009 after the Daytona test because it's the third time I have tested the bike, and we would have been a long way ahead of Suzuki in terms of development."
A statement from Honda said:
The primary factor contributing to this decision is the current global economic situation and its impact on Honda. Although Team Honda will not be in attendance, Honda will continue to be represented in AMA Roadracing through our ongoing support of both the Erion Honda Racing and Corona Honda Racing teams.
Entering the second year of our partnership with Red Bull Energy Drink, the Honda Red Bull Racing team will return for the 2009 Supercross and National Motocross season with a full roster of factory riders.
American Honda's factory and support teams have earned more than 100 national titles in U.S. Road Racing, ATV, Supermoto, Supercross, Motocross and off-road competition, and we would like to extend our deepest thanks to all the sponsors, supporters and fans of our racing efforts over the years. We ask that you continue to support the Honda Red Bull Racing team, the Erion Honda Racing team and the Corona Honda Racing team along with all the other Honda Red Riders as they chase the championships and battle for each victory.
While it is unfortunate that the current economic conditions led us to take this action, rest assured that Honda's deep-seated passion for racing has not been, and will never be, diminished.