The troubled Bimota outfit have been forced to temporarily withdraw from the World Superbike Championship after a deal with Levi's fell through leaving the team with very little sponsorship revenue.

The team had been relying on businessman Inbrahim Malik to broker a deal with the Jeans company and had even requested that the team's rider, Anthony Gobert, be given the number 501 in deference to Levi's legendary brand.

Sadly Bimota team boss Virginio Ferrari was unable to get the agreed sponsorship from Malik, who then disappeared from the scene leaving the team with a major problem. The team publicly stated that Malik had not provided the money which he was contracted to provide and as a result the team were on their own.

In the intervening fortnight between Hockenheim and Monza, no sponsorship was forthcoming and the team were forced to pull out of Sunday's races at Misano.

The squad have been at pains to explain that the withdrawal is a temporary measure until extra money can be found and the structure of the team, including Gobert, will remain intact until the necessary finance has been put in place to enable the team to resume racing.

Bimota chose to enter the World Superbike Championship very late in the pre-season and the Suzuki powered machine had completed a minimal amount of testing before the first round of the championship in South Africa. Despite the lack of track time, Gobert rode admirably and scored a point in just the team's second race since it last entered the series in 1989. Better was to come at Phillip Island where, in changeable conditions, Gobert simply out-guessed the field to score one of the biggest upset victories in WSB history.

Despite that success, Bimota have struggled since. Gobert suffered a nasty crash at Sugo and didn't race at Donington Park. Riding with painful injuries at both Monza and Hockenheim, the bike was off the pace and the Australian retired in four consecutive races.

Despite the news, it is reported that the oft wild-child Gobert has behaved admirably throughout the situation. He has built up a good working relationship with Ferrari and the pairing had a tremendous potential together. It would be a great shame if WSB were to lose its seventh works team in such a manner. The Rimini based squad deserve better.