Surprisingly, Honda has allowed the only Japanese rider in the MotoGP World Championship, Yuki Takahashi, to slip off the grid, following confirmation that Gabor Talmacsi will be Scot Honda's only entry from this weekend's US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca onwards.

The team started the year with rookie Takahashi, a Honda rider throughout his four full seasons in the 250cc class, but - facing financial troubles - signed sponsor-friendly Hungarian Talmacsi to ride alongside the Japanese at round six in Catalunya.

The move put Takahashi's seat in clear danger, but Scot Honda announced its intention to keep both riders by trying to secure the extra RC212Vs needed to give each rider a spare bike in case of a flag-to-flag race.

Although these weren't forthcoming for the Assen round, Scot continued to field both riders, but has now been forced to drop Takahashi from this weekend's US GP onwards.

Many believed that Honda would never allow its only Japanese rider to slip away in such fashion, but it seems HRC decided not to step in and save the 24-year-old.

"For Honda as well as the Scot Racing Team, this is a sad announcement," said HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto. "But we understand that the extremely challenging financial circumstances facing the team left them with no choice.

"Takahashi was the only Japanese rider in the MotoGP championship and of course Honda wanted to see him continue. But in the end the team made it clear that this outcome was impossible and we respect their decision.

"Honda will continue to support the Scot Racing Team in MotoGP with Gabor Talmacsi riding."

During his seven MotoGP races, Takahashi qualified a best of tenth with a peak finish of twelfth.

Talmacsi, who began the year in the 250cc class, has been at the tail of the field in his two rides to date, but steadily closing the gap.

Nevertheless, he will have his hands especially full this weekend. Laguna doesn't host the 250cc and 125cc classes so the Hungarian hasn't previously seen the track, which isn't easy to learn, although a certain double US GP winner has offered to help...

"I never have been there. I'm really curious. I asked for information from my more experienced companions and everybody told me that Laguna is different and difficult," he said. "Well, the great majority of things are new for me in the MotoGP class. So, I'm getting used to facing new challenges.

"I will try to understand by myself as many things as I can about Laguna Seca, then I will knock on Nicky Hayden's motor home and ask for his advice; he declared himself glad to teach me the secrets of his home circuit.

"We reached a point at which I feel necessary to work a little bit more on the set-up, to improve my performances. In the first races, the target was simply - not to do silly things and learn as much as I could. Now I want to make a step ahead and leave the last position to some other guy."

Talmacsi has finished 17th and 16th in his two races to date. Should he finish 15th or better this weekend he will become the first Hungarian to score points in the premier-class since Arpad Juhos finished ninth at the East German GP in 1972.

Takahashi's departure reduces the MotoGP grid back to 18 riders, although only 17 will be at Laguna Seca with Pramac Ducati's Mika Kallio out injured.


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