Honda have withdrawn their factory teams from the prestigious Suzuka 8-hour race in 2009.
The Japanese company have sighted budget cuts and the current global financial situation as the reson for their withdrawal.
Honda have historically dominated the race by fielding two full factory teams and completing a demanding pre race test schedule with hand picked riders from both WSB and MotoGP.
Last year Ten Kate Honad men Ryuichi Kiyonari and Spaniard Carlos Checa won the race.
Another factor that has effected Honda's decision to enter full factory machines is the fact that this years event clashes with the the Brno World Superbike round meaning that Kiyonari, Checa, Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam wouldn't have been available to race.
Speaking exclusively to MCN, 2008 Suzuka 8-hour winner Ryuichi Kiyonari said:
“This years race isn't possible for me because it's the same date as Brno WSB which is really dissapointing. This year it will only be Japanese riders, but with no factory support.”
Whilst it's a big blow for all of the WSB riders who would have potentially taken part in terms of earnings potential.
It does avoid endless trips to Japan for testing where the riders are forced to adapt their styles between their WSB spec bikes on Pirelli tyres to HRC bikes on either Bridgestones or Michelins.