Chris Burns, fifth in the 2008 British Superbike Cup Championship on an STP run MV Agusta, has revealed that the team will not be present at this weekend's 2009 season opener at Brands Hatch.

"I'm gutted, I don't really know what to do or say at the moment," Burns, who claimed two Cup wins and 13 podiums last season, told the Sunday Sun's Burning Rubber blog. "It's been a tough week as rumours were flying all over the place... Then at teatime yesterday [Tuesday] I was told by Jon Strike that we weren't going to run this weekend.

"Now I just don't know what to think. The team say they hope to race at the next round at Oulton Park, but I'm concerned that by missing out on the opening round, that's the championship gone for us," added the former MotoGP rider.

The reason for the Brands absence is believed to be that STP's bikes are simply not yet ready. An official announcement is expected in due course.

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