A Feb. 2 report from Roadracingworld.com states that American Honda has found Neil Hodgson a place to race in the 2009 AMA American Superbike Championship. This new place should feel a lot like his former American Honda home.
Despite posting the fastest time last December in the American Superbike class during the AMA Pro Racing tire test at Daytona International Speedway while aboard his CBR1000RR, American Honda’s Neil Hodgson was orphaned by Honda’s December 12 announcement that it was yanking its factory team from the ’09 Superbike series.
Citing “the current global economic situation” for the pull out, the company did say that it would continue to help private teams, Erion Racing and Corona Extra Racing.
While true that Big Red’s company rig may not be hauling any machines participating in the Superbike series to each race venue this year, the company will be there in spirit, so-to-speak.
According to Roadracingworld.com, Hodgson will now be in the Corona Extra Racing paddock. Though riding for Corona, however, Hodgson stated in the report that he’ll still work with his former crew from American Honda and that their efforts will be based out of American Honda’s shop.
What does “factory supported” mean to Honda?
On the surface it seems the company has found or created a loophole in its own decision to not officially participate in the 2009 American Superbike Series. While Hodgson’s former teammates presumably were also out of a job after Honda’s decision to quit Superbike, the crew’s following Hodgson to Corona basically ensures a factory-like team. Adding to the slipperiness is that they’ll work directly out of Honda’s garage.
Honda had a contractual obligation to Hodgson for this year, but the racer claims he had no substantial involvement in the deal between Corona and American Honda, only stating his preferences to Honda.
The wackiness that’s surrounded American roadracing for the past year continues…