As predicted by Crash.net
on Monday, Rizla will cease title sponsorship of Crescent Suzuki at the end of the 2008 British Superbike season.
"After seven years we have made the difficult decision to end our sponsorship of the Suzuki BSB team," stated Rizla Brand Manager Alison Williams. "I would like to thank all the past and present team members and riders for such a successful sponsorship. We wish the team the very best for the future."
From 2002 - 2008 the Crescent-run Rizla Suzuki team scored one British Superbike Championship (with John Reynolds), one Manufacturers' Championship, 23 race wins and 58 podiums. It also took one World Superbike pole position and two podiums.
Crescent has already confirmed that it will contest the 2009 BSB championship with current MotoGP racer Sylvain Guintoli. However, it is not known if the team will field a second rider, while no mention was made of Rizla's support for Suzuki's factory MotoGP outfit.
"We thank all at Imperial Tobacco for Rizla's support over the last seven years; we have enjoyed a very close, proactive relationship and achieved great success on and off the track," said Crescent managing director, and Suzuki MotoGP team manager, Paul Denning.
"Rizla Suzuki's British Superbike team will be remembered as one of the most colourful, successful and popular teams of the decade and that is in no small part due to Rizla's enthusiasm as a sponsor.
"Crescent will continue with its BSB activities and we are grateful for the full backing and support of Suzuki. Obviously, there are pressures upon a team when it loses its main sponsor but we are actively discussing alternative opportunities.
"British Superbikes has been enriched by the Rizla Suzuki era and now we will move forward and write a new chapter - one we hope will be steeped in success, starting with new signing Sylvain Guintoli and the awesome 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000."
Suzuki confirmed that Crescent will continue to receive full factory backing.
"We thank Rizla for its long term support for Suzuki GB's official Superbike team. We look forward to achieving success with the team as it competes in 2009 with our full support," said Yasuharu Osawa, managing director of Suzuki GB.
Rizla Suzuki will make its final competitive appearance at the Race of the Year at Mallory Park in Leicestershire this Sunday, October 19th, with Tom Sykes aiming to make it three victories in a row for the team at the annual event.
The riders who have worn Rizla Suzuki BSB colours are John Reynolds, Karl Harris, Giovanni Bussei, Nick Medd, Jon Kirkham, David Jefferies, Yukio Kagayama, Gregorio Lavilla, Richard Britton, Scott Smart, James Haydon, Shane Byrne, Steve Plater, Jurgen Van den Goorbergh, Cal Crutchlow, Chris Walker, Jenny Tinmouth, Atsushi Watanabe and Tom Sykes.