Honda Althea has released an official statement to deny that Englishman Tommy Hill could be replaced by former Ducati WSBK race winner Lorenzo Lanzi.
The team labels the rumours 'totally groundless' and confirms that Hill will race for the team next time out at Assen, although it stops shot of guaranteeing his seat for the rest of 2009.
“With reference to reports on several websites and forums regarding the substitution of our Superbike rider Tommy Hill with Lorenzo Lanzi, the Honda Althea Racing team wishes to deny this news, which is considered to be totally groundless,” said the Althea statement.
“The team continues to believe in the British rider, who has completely recovered from the injuries he suffered last season and who is showing that he can worthily compete in such a difficult and competitive championship as World Superbike.
“As reported in the team press release on the tests carried out last week at Monza, we wish to confirm that Tommy will take part in the Assen races on the Honda CBR 1000 RR prepared by Massimo Tulli and his technical staff, in order to continue with the development of our bike and reach the results that our team and rider are capable of.”
Hill currently sits 20th in the WSBK championship standings, having scored points in four of the six races so far held. The former BSB star's best finish is a double 14th place at the Phillip Island season opener.
Lanzi, a winner of three WSBK races, took his most recent victory at Valencia 2008, after Max Neukirchner and Carlos Checa collided at the final turn. The Italian was unable to secure a 2009 seat.