Stiggy Honda has confirmed that it will cut its WSBK and WSS rider line-up from four to two riders for the remaining three rounds of the 2009 season.
The decision has been made due to 'a combination of economical issues and rider injuries' and was necessary 'in order to secure the team's continuation in this year's championship'.
Superbike rider John Hopkins - who suffered serious injuries in the recent German round - has already announced that he will not race again this season.
Due to a shortfall in finances the Anglo-American will not be replaced, meaning that Leon Haslam will be Stiggy's only Superbike rider.
The Englishman has taken four podiums this season and holds sixth in the championship heading into this weekend's Imola round and still has a mathematical chance of third.
“The spec of our bike is what it is at the minute, but we proved in Germany that we are still capable of running and battling at the front,” said Leon, ahead of this weekend's event. “We have tested at Imola this summer, and were third quickest on race tyres. We missed out on a chance to use the best tyres at that test like the official teams did.
“You need corner speed at Imola and our bike feels good out of the turns. We already set our gearing choices at the test so we should be able to spend most of our time working on the electronics. I'm looking forward to Imola and hope I can make up for Germany and get on the podium again.”
Meanwhile, the decision to cut back to one rider in the Supersport class was far harder for Stiggy, since it meant axing Gianluca Vizziello.
The Italian 'has failed to deliver the expected results', sitting only 17th in the championship with a best finish of seventh, but it was still hard for team manager Johan Stigefelt, himself a former rider, to tell Vizziello the news.