Sterilgarda Ducati has announced it will run just a single bike for Shane Byrne during the opening two rounds of the 2009 World Superbike Championship after succumbing to global economic pressures.
The team are due to travel to Phillip Island in Australia for the first round of the season on March 1st, but will do so now without Alex Polita, leaving Byrne as their sole representative for at least this round and the following one in Qatar.
Blaming the current economic climate for the decision, Marco Borciani lamented the decision to place Polita on the sidelines, but added there was little choice at this current moment in time.
“I'm really sorry about the situation that does not allow us to enter Alex Polita as planned. Unfortunately the economic condition of companies at the moment means that we do not have the support of several sponsors, who were supposed to help us for the 2009 season. I feel really sorry for Alex, who is a talented young rider with whom I hope to again be able to work with in the future.”
The move is a significant blow to the Sterilgarda team, who will arrive in Australia as a contender for this year's title following Byrne's domination of the pre-season group test at Portimao.
Nonetheless, Borciani insists it is still their intention to get a second bike on the grid for the first European round of the season in Valencia.
“We will continue to try and get things ready for the third round of the championship with a two-rider squad.”
Polita was due to graduate to the World Superbike Championship in 2009 after finishing fourth for Sterilgarda in the 2008 FIM Superstock 1000 Championship.