Honda Exiting Grand Prix?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The auto industry is hurting. It seems in recent months we hear nothing else in the news. While the American Big Three grovel in Congress and teeter on the verge of bankruptcy, worldwide economic downturn is affecting the industry as a whole. Honda, the largest motorcycle manufacturer on the planet as well as the fifth-largest car producer, is hurting too – the Japanese firm citing economic pressure for its exit from F1 and the AMA Roadracing series.
But could it be? Honda pulling the plug on Grand Prix!
MotoGP released its provisional entry list for the 2009 championship, complete with six Honda riders, including the two-man factory Repsol squad. However, there are rumors swirling of a possible change in Honda GP racing to be announced this Friday. (The F1 and AMA withdrawl announcements were released the previous two Fridays.)
A GP world without Honda? Say it ain't so!
The mighty HRC exiting Grand Prix would indeed be a sign of the times – hard economic times. For three decades Honda has been the dominant manufacturer in GP, with its champions including Freddie Spencer, Mick Doohan, Nicky Hayden and the GP GOAT himself – Valentino Rossi. Given Honda’s storied racing tradition, its founding tradition, we are assured its decision to withdraw from AMA racing was a painful one. Just imagine Grand Prix…
Let us hope the rumors are just that. Rank speculation, bolstered by the marque’s recent trend of delivering bad news. A change in Honda’s GP effort could be a scaling back, not a complete withdrawl. After all, Big Red’s Grand Prix machines have long been the most numerous bikes in the premier class paddock. GP could survive a couple empty seats, but six missing bikes would be a disaster.
All this is still rumor and innuendo. But we, and all GP fans, will be listening closely on Friday.
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