Pro Ride Honda has announced it will field Lorenzo Alfonsi for the remainder of the 2012 World Superbike Championship after Raffaele de Rosa opted out of the ride just a single round into the season.
Following his switch from Moto2 over the winter, de Rosa made his WSBK debut at Phillip Island but a disappointing opener has prompted his decision to look elsewhere for the remainder of the 2012 season.
In his place comes Alfonsi, who returns to the WSBK fray having last raced in the series full-time back in 2005 as part of the DFX Yamaha team.
A former Superstock 1000 race winner, Alfonsi is delighted to be making a WSBK comeback some six years after his last race at international Superbike level.
“I am very happy to come back to the World Superbikes! Both myself and Pro Ride staff are motivated to make everything works well in this season. I've known Marco for such a long time and we get along well together.
“I really want to make it right and I believe in this project. It is for sure a great opportunity to come back to the World Superbikes and I thank both Pro Ride and Helios for believing in me and for the support.
“We will work together to get so many points for the championship. And as we know each other for some years, we are already working well and full of energy to get a good result in Imola.”
With his debut on home soil less than three weeks' away, team manager Marco Nicotari is also pleased to be welcoming Alonfsi back to World Superbikes.
“I've known Lorenzo since 2007 and since that moment I have been always in contact with him about our projects. Each year we go different roads, but I always saw him as a great rider. A sportsman that has grown up inside the paddock in a very honest and professional way and that absolutely deserves to come back to the World Superbikes.
“A rider that will bring to us his talent and many “kilometers” in Superbikes. We will assemble him a reliable bike, made to his liking. There will be so much work ahead for his first race with us at Imola, but we are full of confidence and I am personally happy for this new challenge.”
In 21 WSBK starts, Alfonsi has a best finish of 14th place.