Whether it’s a result of a swampy economy or issues with race organizer Daytona Motorsports Group (DMG), it still means the same thing; American Honda won’t be racing AMA Superbike in 2009. The announcement was made on Friday, December 12th.
This means there won’t be a factory Honda presence, but Honda will still support Erion Racing and the Corona Honda team. As of press time, there was no response from Neil Hodgson, Team Honda’s rider who tested at Daytona less than a week ago.
Honda maintains it is withdrawing because of tough economic times: “the current economic conditions led us to take this action,” plausible given the factory’s recent withdrawal from Formula One auto racing. However, Honda will still have factory Supercross and National Motocross teams as well as a presence in MotoGP. It may be a factor, but an unmentioned element is the conflict with DMG. The proposed rules changed the game too much for the OEMs’ liking, so in September, the Japanese manufacturers announced their own Superbike series, US Superbike. The USSB, an offshoot of the Motorcycle Industry Council, still has yet to announce any race dates or venues for 2009.
Although AMA Pro Racing (now managed by DMG) has adopted more manufacturer-friendly rules, it’s still unclear if Suzuki, and Kawasaki will be racing their factory teams (Kawasaki Roadrace-team members were conspicuously absent when the Team Green riders were introduced at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show). Yamaha did announce that Ben Bostrom and Josh Hayes would be racing in ’09 with its Factory Road Race team. Even without the factory involvement, DMG’s classes allow for a number of interesting models to compete, and the venues are booked for next year. So there will be some kind of AMA racing in 2009; how interesting or well-supported (not to mention well-attended) it is remains to be seen.
What are your thoughts on the new rules and classes for AMA Superbike? We’d love to hear them.
Torrance CA: American Honda announced today that it will withdraw Team Honda from participation in the 2009 AMA Roadracing Series. This was an extremely difficult decision to make as the racing spirit reaches to the very core of Honda.
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.