Pro Ride Honda says it is working on a return to the World Superbike Championship after the loss of two major sponsors forced it to pull out of the third round at Assen.
The Italian team, which made a belated WSBK debut this year after stillborn attempts to compete in 2009 and 2010, began the season with Raffaele de Rosa on the privateer CBR1000RR, only for the ex-Moto2 rider to quit after a single event to be replaced by countryman Lorenzo Alfonsi at Imola.
However, the entire team is missing from the paddock at Assen after key sponsors Real Game and Helios withdrew their backing, leaving Pro Ride unable to compete.
Despite the substantial set back, team manager Marco Nicotari has high hopes that Pro Ride will be back on the grid in the future.
"There's not much to say,” he said. “The only solution is to temporarily stop our racing activities in the World Superbikes, avoiding any further damages to the company and to the image of the championship itself. Anyway I thank both Real Game and Helios for the support. They are serious companies with whom I hope to work with again in a more stable future.
“I also thank Infront to believe in the potentiality of our team, leaving the doors open for a possible restart later this season. I thank all our technical sponsors, for giving us official support even if we are a private team. As an engineer, I founded Pro Ride because I wanted a space to create, to come with new ideas. I'm not interested in nothing that comes ready or in solutions that come on packages.
"When we are in a position to finally prove and develop what we see as the right road, then I'll get the team together. Our Honda CBR SBK is a great bike. The CBR is for me a model made of challenges and new possibilities, that's why it has been our choice for the past 6 years. And from this choice we built a unique technical package. We are Honda and we stay Honda.”
Pro Ride attempted to enter World Superbikes in 2009 with Gregorio Lavilla and again in 2010 with Makoto Tamada, but failed to make the grid in either season. During 2011, Pro Ride were involved in MZ Racing's Moto2 effort before deciding to make a third attempt at WSBK competition.