Pro Ride managing director Marco Nicotari admits he 'feels sorry' for rider Gregorio Lavilla after being forced to withdraw from the opening two rounds of the World Superbike Championship.
The team was on the verge of making the trip to the opening event at Phillip Island, Australia, when the last-minute cancellation of a sponsorship deal left them with a financial shortfall.
It means the new-for-2009 team, which has been born out of the now defunct Alto Evolution project, will turn its attentions to the first European round of the season at Valencia. Although Nicotari admits this isn't an ideal solution, he adds that it is necessary for the team to compete at their best.
“We know the crisis is serious and the taking part of the championship with one rider was already one strategy to survive the hard scenario we are living nowadays,” he said. “We couldn't expect that those two companies would leave us right in the beginning of the championship.
“The Team had already the cases ready to be sent to Australia and the news got us by surprise. I had to make a step back in order to keep the things under control and start properly in Valencia. Besides, we are working hard to find new partners that can heal the situation that these loses caused.
“Pro Ride is a new company and it is not easy to start a business exactly during a so delicate moment, when the investments tend to decrease and people do every possible thing to save money.
Nicotari went on to admit that he is sad to see Lavilla and the Pro Ride team forced to sit on the sidelines because of matters out of their control.
“However we know the quality our product and I'm confident we'll find alternatives to overcome this period and make a good season. I feel sorry for Lavilla and the entire Team staff, but Gregorio is a great rider and we expect good moments on the race track for Pro Ride this year.
“The Team is united, we are passing through this together and everybody is giving his best to sail the ship throughout this storm. Everybody that is part of Pro Ride staff today intends to stay for the whole season.”