Gregorio Lavilla will remain in the World Superbike Championship next season after confirming he will compete for the re-launched Pro Ride Honda team in 2009.
Former British Champion Lavilla, who was seeking refuge after revealing at the weekend that he wouldn't be racing with Paul Bird Motorsport next season, takes up the helm at the team previously known as Alto Evolution.
The Spaniard enjoyed a consistent return to the WSBK fold in 2008, his strong top ten finishes in Portugal confirming him as the best privateer rider over the season.
Alto, on the other hand, have struggled this year, with lead rider Shuhei Aoyama scoring just five points, while the combination of Luca Morelli, Jason Pridmore and Matt Lynn on the second bike failed to add anything more to that.
As such, the Italian-based team will undergo major changes for 2009 having confirmed that Alto are no longer the majority owners of the outfit. The most notable of these modifications is the name change, while they will run just one bike for Lavilla too.
Although the team will be re-launched officially this weekend, Pro Ride have already been out on circuit during the post-season tests in Portugal with Lavilla's best lap of 1min 45.5secs proving immediately quicker than that of Aoyama.
Speaking after his first test with the team, Lavilla was satisfied with his first impressions with both the bike and the team.
“Today was the first day of tests with the new Team, in the morning the track was a bit wet, but little by little we saw the things we have to improve and also the positive ones.
“I think it was important and positive to make this test today and we have ahead a couple of months to work on the bikes and make them ready and well. From January on there are so much to be done, but there are the strong spirit and the will from both the Team and I, and only like this we can move on.”