Roberto Rolfo will remain a Honda rider in 2009 after concluding a deal to join Leon Haslam in Stiggy Motorsport's maiden World Superbike rider line-up.
Confirmed at the final round of the season in Portugal, the deal ensures Rolfo will embark on his fourth season in the series, while it also maintains his long-term partnership with the Japanese manufacturer.
Rolfo had been tipped to make a surprise switch to Aprilia next season, but with Shinya Nakano assuming that berth, the Italian will instead form one half of Johan Stigefelt's WSBK foray.
Naturally, the former Ten Kate Honda rider was delighted with the deal and is targeting a return to running at the front of the field following an anonymous season with the Althea team.
“I'm very happy with my decision to ride for the Stiggy team next year,” he said. “We have been talking about this possibility for a long time and are both very confident about the project. I know the team is very professional and has lots of potential and I'm very happy to give them my all next year. The team is highly motivated and dedicated to this project - just like myself.
“The team's co-operation with Oral Engineering and Magneti Marelli is very exciting and is something I strongly believe in. I have a lot of experience with the Honda and hopefully that will prove fruitful. I am looking forward to next year and would like to say that my goal is very high!”
In signing two riders with considerable Grand Prix and Superbike experience, team manager Stigefelt believes Rolfo and Haslam form a strong enough line-up to build on the outfit's considerable success at Supersport level.
“I'm extremely happy to have finalised our Superbike line-up with Roby - it is just great! We have a racing history together, from the 250cc class, so we know each other for several years already. Roby is a good and experienced rider and will be perfect for our new project next year. We now have our four riders signed up, in the two different classes, and I have to say I'm very pleased with our line-up.”