Gregorio Lavilla will miss the opening two rounds of the 2009 World Superbike Championship after Pro Ride Honda revealed their season will start in Valencia.
Coming less than two weeks before the start of the new season at Phillip Island, global financial pressures have forced Pro Ride to withdraw from the flyaway Australian and Qatari rounds with a view to getting on the grid in Spain instead.
Pro Ride, formerly Alto Evolution, had been present at the recent WSBK test in Portimao, although the bike ran without any livery. Lavilla, who raced the Vent-Axia VK Honda last season, was 22nd fastest of the 27 riders.
Pro Ride's announcement comes after Sterilgarda Ducati confirmed they will be entering just a single Ducati for Shane Byrne during the opening two rounds.
Although 32 riders were confirmed on the official World Superbike entry list last month, there are fears more of the smaller European teams will choose to sit-out the long distance events and begin their season at Valencia.
TKR Switzerland, who will compete this season with Roland Resch, are another team to also be skipping the Phillip Island and Losail rounds.