Recently, Honda announced their withdrawal from Formula One racing and last Friday said they would also be pulling the factory teams out of AMA Superbike. Will this be the only factory to go due to the economy or is it the first of many?
NASCAR, for one, is experiencing a major reduction of support from and, in some cases, the complete departure of many companies long associated with racing. Factory teams and big name sponsors look like a luxury for better times, are motorcycles that much different? Well, yes they are. While race cars and family sedans no longer connect except by name, the same motorcycles you can buy are often a short step from the starting grid. The factories design many models specifically for the purpose. The question becomes, why build cutting edge race bikes if you’re not going to race?
The Honda withdrawal may be isolated or the first of many, how long it will last depends on the economy, but it will be interesting to see if the pace of constantly changing sportbikes slows a bit as factories, or at least Honda, look for better returns on their investments.