Stiggy Racing has confirmed Roberto Rolfo has been ousted from the team to make way for John Hopkins.
Hopkins himself announced earlier that he will make his World Superbike debut with Johan Stigefelt's team, although it wasn't clear whether he would ride a third Honda CBR1000RR or replace either Rolfo or Leon Haslam.
However, with no third bike available, sponsors have chosen to back Hopkins instead, forcing Rolfo out on the sidelines after only two rounds with the team.
Despite his premature exit, ex-Ten Kate Honda rider Rolfo thanked the team for signing him before reiterating that his physical condition – a doubt before the season started – had not been a factor in his exit.
“With great sadness I have taken notice of the fact that the Stiggy Racing Team and its sponsors have expressed their wishes for another rider to support the team,” he said. “Based on this outcome, I have decided to end my collaboration with the team.
“I would like to thank my mechanics who have helped me in this short season. I would also like to emphasise the decision, to prevent any miscommunication, has nothing to do with my physical condition, which is perfect at the moment, but is entirely based on reasons beyond my influence.”
The Stiggy team also took the opportunity to thank Rolfo for bringing his wealth of experience to the team over the last few months.
“We are sorry to announce the premature ending of our collaboration with Roberto Rolfo, due to insolvable matters of sponsor interest.
“We would like to thank Roberto for his dedication and the effort he has put into the Stiggy Racing project from the beginning and sincerely hope he will quickly find the opportunity to participate once again in the SBK Championship. The team intends to maintain the excellent relationship it has built with Roberto Rolfo.”
Rolfo managed a best of 13th position in the first four races of the season.