Honda quit AMA superbikes

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Former World Superbike Champion Neil Hodgson was gutted when he found out late on Friday night that he has no ride.

Neil Hodgson was getting into bed at his home on the Isle of Man just after 10:00 p.m. when he got the call from California telling him that American Honda had made the shock decision to withdraw from American road racing.

“I’m absolutely devastated. That goes without saying,” Hodgson said early on Saturday morning as the news was sinking in. “I truly believe Honda have got the best road bike out there and the DMG rules were working in our favor and  I think we’ve got a real good chance at fighting for a championship and having a great, successful season.”

He continued. “It’s not a good situation. When you hear about the recession, you kind of think it’s not going to affect you personally, or you hope it’s not going to, and it’s surprising when it does. It’s a bit of a shock.”

Hodgson could find himself in the same place he was in 2007, when he worked as a Ducati/Bridgestone test rider. But he’s come to realize “how much the racing does mean to me. It’s such an important part of my life. The prospect of sitting out a full season is not attractive to me at all. I did it last year. I hated it and I’m not getting any younger.”

Hodgson iss in discussions with American Honda. He said he had “a million questions” about payment and the possibilities of riding for other teams in America and abroad. “It’s hard for me to pursue anything until I get some solid answers. but I’m having to already start thinking about pursuing stuff, because already it’s the 11th hour. It’s already way too late.”

One option may be with Corona Honda, the satellite team that ran James Ellison in 2007, if they add a second rider. Another may be with Erion Honda, the satellite team that will run two riders in the middleweight Daytona SportBike class. Either would be the alternative.

“I don’t want to take another year out,” he said. “I want to race motorcycles because it’s the best job in the world. I’ve got to do whatever I can do to make that happen.”

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Henny Ray Abrams

By Henny Ray Abrams