Team Parkalgar will not have a presence on the 2012 World Supersport Championship grid next season, it has been confirmed.
The team, backed by Autodromo Algarve – better known as the Portimao race circuit in Portugal –, has maintained a presence in the Supersport series since 2006, during which time it has managed 12 race wins, while its star rider Eugene Laverty finished runner-up in 2009 and 2010.
However, while Performance Technical Racing, which prepares bikes for the team, will continue into 2012 with an ambitious six-strong rider line-up, it will do so without the support of Parkalgar, with manager Paulo Pinheiro citing the tough economic climate for its decision to withdraw.
"It was a difficult but unavoidable decision to take," AIA manager Paulo Pinheiro. "Ours was without a shadow of doubt a successful project: our aim was to make Portimao's Autodromo Internacional do Algarve circuit known throughout the world and in this we succeeded. Nevertheless, without the support of other backers, it was no longer possible to continue with the same conditions and ambitions in 2012.
“We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the success of the project, as well as the riders who defended our colours over the years: Simone Sanna, Eugene Laverty, Sam Lowes, Josh Hayes and obviously Miguel Praia. A special and sad mention must also go to Craig Jones: we will never forget him, he was an exceptional rider and person."
Parkalgar's withdrawal means Miguel Praia, who has ridden for the team since its 2006 inception, has been left without a ride for 2012, though the team is seeking a budget for some wild-card outings.
"I'm really sad at the moment, but at the same time I can consider myself proud to have been part of the project,” Praia said. “We started off as the smallest team in the paddock and we reached the top of the category. With Parkalgar Honda I've had the best years of my career, they gave me the chance to improve as a rider and get some good results. Unfortunately our efforts have not allowed us to continue in 2012.
“In Portugal the only sport that has influence is football, everything else takes second best despite the results and the visibility for the country throughout the world. All that's left for me now is to look for alternatives for the future, my hopes are to continue with Honda and with a competitive project. I'm convinced that it's still not time for me to stop."
PTR will run six bikes in 2012, with Sam Lowes and Pawel Szkopek riding under the Bogdanka banner, while Martin Jessopp, PJ Jacobsen, Mathew Scholtz and Ronan Quarmby will also compete.