American Honda will not compete in the 2009 AMA Roadracing Series. The announcement came in a December 12th press release in which Honda states: “This was an extremely difficult decision to make as the racing spirit reaches to the very core of Honda.”
The departure of American Honda from AMA Roadracing leaves the future of factory rider Neil Hodgson unclear.
Honda blames the poor economy for the move, claiming: “The primary factor contributing to this decision is the current global economic situation and its impact on Honda.”
Economic woe is the same reason Big Red used when it announced its recent exit from F1. The decision, however, is a blow to the troubled AMA series, which has been in upheaval since the Daytona Motorsports Group took charge last year.
Fortunately, the Erion and Corona satellite teams will continue to carry the CBR standard in the AMA, with Honda support. The big question is where the Neil Hodgson, the lone American Honda rider signed to a 2009 contract, will race the upcoming season.
So far in the off-season, the DMG-operated AMA series has withstood outright rebellion from the OEMs with a short-lived rival US roadracing series. Now Honda’s official pullout combines with Suzuki’s long-standing objection to the new DMG rules. Kawasaki seems to have taken a neutral stance, with only Yamaha embracing the new series (at the recent Dunlop tire test, Yamaha was the only manu in attendance with factory-level riders).
It is uncertain if the economic troubles will reduce Honda’s effort in MotoGP. The Honda Red Bull Supercross and Motocross team, however, is unaffected by the decision and will continue “with a full roster of factory riders.”