HM Plant Honda is looking for two new riders after it was officially confirmed that Leon Haslam will leave the team for a World Superbike ride in 2009.

The 25-year-old is nearing the end of his fourth season in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship - but first with HM Plant and Honda.

After a slow start, Haslam has achieved five race wins and a further five podiums to sit second in the championship, 17 points ahead of Tom Sykes with one round to go.

Haslam, who last raced in WSBK with Renegade Ducati in 2004, is expected to return to the series with Stiggy Motorsports Honda in 2009.

"Making a decision about 2009 has been an incredibly hard one for me," said Leon. "I've enjoyed this season so much with HM Plant Honda in BSB, had one of the best years of my career and know I could probably take the title next year. But the world scene is where my heart is and looking at the teams there and current rider movements, the World Superbike Championship is where I really need to be - and my ideal would be on a Honda. I'd like to thank the HM Plant Honda team for a great year and their continued belief in me and let's hope we can finish this season on a real high at next weekend's last round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch."

"Leon has had a great year and worked very hard with the HM Plant Honda team to achieve good development of the new Fireblade and excellent race results on track," added team manager Havier Beltran. "We made Leon an offer to stay with the team for 2009 but we fully understand his desire to return to the World Superbike Championship, support him in his decision and wish him great success for next season. We are talking to potential riders now for 2009 and will finalise the new HM Plant Honda rider line-up shortly."

Haslam's team-mate Cal Crutchlow has already been announced at the Yamaha World Supersport outfit for 2009.

The final round of this season's British Superbike Championship will take place at Brands Hatch from 10-12 October.

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