Just about a week ago, Honda announced that it was dropping out of Formula 1, but in subsequent reports Honda confirmed that it was not planning to pull support from other motorsports endeavors. That doesn't quite seem to be the case. Yesterday, Honda announced that it will be removing factory support from AMA road racing. The only Honda factory rider already contracted for the '09 season is Neil Hodgson. Jake Zemke, winner of last year's AMA Formula Xtreme Championship, now seems likely to race for the Erion Honda team, which Honda will still be offering support to, along with the Corona Honda team. Motocross and Supercross will not be affected by Honda's decision.

Honda cites the "current global economic situation and its impact on Honda" for the change, but we wonder if the ongoing dominance of Mat Mladin and Ben Spies' Suzukis may have made AMA Superbike an easy series to drop -- a move last made by Ducati in 2006. We're also left wondering if the ongoing conflict with Daytona Motorsports Group, the new management for AMA Pro Racing, had anything to do with the withdrawl. In any case, we won't be seeing any Honda Factory teams in AMA road racing for 2009.

[Source: Honda]


PRESS RELEASE:

Torrance CA: American Honda announced today that it will withdraw Team Honda from participation in the 2009 AMA Roadracing Series. This was an extremely difficult decision to make as the racing spirit reaches to the very core of Honda.

The primary factor contributing to this decision is the current global economic situation and its impact on Honda. Although Team Honda will not be in attendance, Honda will continue to be represented in AMA Roadracing through our ongoing support of both the Erion Honda Racing and Corona Honda Racing teams.

Entering the second year of our partnership with Red Bull Energy Drink, the Honda Red Bull Racing team will return for the 2009 Supercross and National Motocross season with a full roster of factory riders.

American Honda¹s factory and support teams have earned more than 100 national titles in U.S. Road Racing, ATV, Supermoto, Supercross, Motocross and off-road competition, and we would like to extend our deepest thanks to all the sponsors, supporters and fans of our racing efforts over the years.
We ask that you continue to support the Honda Red Bull Racing team, the Erion Honda Racing team and the Corona Honda Racing team along with all the other Honda Red Riders as they chase the championships and battle for each victory.

While it is unfortunate that the current economic conditions led us to take this action, rest assured that Honda¹s deep-seated passion for racing has not been, and will never be, diminished.