The decision was announced Dec. 12, less than a week after American Honda’s Neil Hodgson took part in the AMA Pro Racing tire test at Daytona International Speedway. Hodgson’s best lap time of 1:38.030 on a Honda CBR1000RR was over a second faster than any other riders in the American Superbike class.
American Honda cited “the current global economic situation” as the primary factor behind the decision. Earlier this month, Honda also announced its withdrawal from Formula One racing, again citing economic reasons for the decision. Following the announcement of the withdrwal from F1 racing however, Amercian Honda released a statement saying: “Honda’s U.S.-based motor sports activities are expected to continue in 2009”. That statement, along with Hodgson’s performance at the tire tests, makes the decision to withdraw a surprise.
Honda will continue to support the Erion Honda and Corona Honda racing teams and will continue to run factory Supercross and Motocross teams.
Hodgson’s fate for the 2009 season has yet to be announced. The former World Superbike Champion finished sixth in the 2008 AMA Superbike rider standings, one spot ahead of teammate Miguel Duhamel who remains unsigned for 2009.
Suzuki and Kawasaki have yet to announce their plans for the 2009 AMA Superbike season. Neither factory participated in the Daytona tire test. Suzuki did announce that it is pulling out of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship for economic reasons. Yamaha has already announced its participation in the 2009 season.