Neil Hodgson has announced his retirement from racing following an examination of his injured shoulder.
The former World and British Superbike champion crashed during warm-up at Brands Hatch, the first round of his planned 2010 BSB comeback season, reinjuring a shoulder he had previously damaged while training in the USA last year.
In the three weeks since, Hodgson has undergone a series of tests and seen several specialists hoping for a positive outcome, but after Wednesday's verdict from a leading shoulder specialist in Manchester he has made the difficult decision to retire.
“To be honest I'm still pretty shell shocked from Brands, when you start the season you know you're going to have to take a few knocks but the very first time I slide off I land straight on my shoulder!” began Hodgson. “I knew it was bad, I have lived with it all last year and got to understand the level of weakness and recovery.
“I had more work to do but was really happy with the progress, riding the bike was the best therapy but also the biggest risk.
“I am gutted obviously, I had a plan to come back to the UK and have some fun with Rob and his team, It will take time for me to come to terms with this but it is the right decision. My shoulder will get back to probably 90% over the next couple of years so I will be able to have a normal life.
“For all my fans and all the supporters who have been with me over the years I want to thank them all, Rob's team and sponsors for this year I really am sorry I could not fulfil our plans, the Motorpoint guys and all Rob's team have been great and I hoped to be part of their success this year.”
Hodgson won the BSB title (GSE Ducati) in 2000 and WSBK title (Fila Ducati) in 2003. Hodgson then raced in MotoGP for d'Antin Ducati in 2004, before moving to the AMA Superbike Championship from 2005-2009 - initially with Ducati and then Honda.
Hodgson had signed to partner Dan Linfoot at Motorpoint Yamaha this season.