The Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team has become the latest casualty of the ongoing global fall-out from the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull last week – having admitted defeat in its efforts to get to Assen for what was supposed to have been its World Superbike Championship debut this coming weekend.
Late last year, the illustrious and highly-regarded Japanese parts and tuning company announced its intention to quit the All-Japan Superbike Championship – in which it was a regular front-runner – in favour of racing in selected rounds of WSBK this year as a satellite Suzuki operation, no doubt encouraged by the incredible success achieved by its US arm in AMA road racing of late, most notably with Ben Spies.
Aside from Assen, the team revealed that it planned to enter the Imola and Magny-Cours rounds in September and October respectively – ahead of a mooted all-out title challenge in 2011 – with four-time WSBK race-winner Yukio Kagayama aboard the GSX-R1000 in Holland and France, and Daisaku Sakai taking to the track in San Marino, after finishing as runner-up on home turf in the All-Japan Superbike Championship for Yoshimura last season.
However, as a result of the international travel chaos that has reigned for the past week, the squad has proven unable to transport its equipment to the Netherlands in time to compete this weekend, and is now understood to be eyeing a potential maiden appearance at Monza in Italy on 9 May instead.
Who will ride the bike, though, remains unclear, as Kagayama's British Superbike Championship Worx Crescent Suzuki team manager Jack Valentine previously told Crash.net
that 'with the investment we have in Yukio, I would not foresee his BSB contract allowing any further races for Yoshimura' [see separate story – click here