Reigning MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden has confirmed he will not be contesting the prestigious Suzuka Eight-hour endurance at the end of next month.
The Repsol Honda rider was scheduled to fly to Japan straight after the Dutch GP in Assen at the end of June to take part in a test session for the Eight-hour.
Honda is planning to field a star-studded line-up for the 30th anniversary of the race, and bosses wanted the MotoGP champ to ride.
But with Hayden's struggles in the premier class continuing, he confirmed to MCN on the eve of this weekend's Catalunya GP that he has been excused from the race to focus on turning his nightmare 2007 season round.
He's yet to claim a top six finish on the struggling factory Honda RC212V, and with Carlos Checa and current World Superbike championship leader James Toseland down to ride factory FireBlade machines, Honda has decided not to call on the services of Hayden.
He said: "That's good. As much as I'd love to go over there and win Suzuka for Honda, I'm in so deep right now, the last thing I need to do is go off and get on a different bike and start riding that."