The Alto Evolution Honda team will miss this weekend's Misano round of the Corona Extra Superbike World Championship following a bizarre chain of events centred around the hijacking of the team's truck...

"On Monday the 28th of May 2007 the team truck of Alto Evolution Honda, back from Silverstone, containing race bikes, spares and so on, was hijacked by a gang when it stopped for refuelling near Calais," read a team statement. "The driver was kidnapped for more than six hours and the truck diverted.

"The driver was able to escape in Bruxelles - Belgium, where he alerted the police and confirmed the names of the people of the gang which had kidnapped him and stolen the truck... Policemen from Belgium have immediately started investigations and, at the same time, Carabinieri [Italian police] have been alerted. Investigations have gone on strenuously and with outmost secrecy."

After the truck hijacking, which the team suspects was carried out by a member of the WSBK community, the team sent a van to recover further equipment from a warehouse in Trieste. This too was stolen - but the theft was tracked by law enforcement officials.

"On the way back, in the first rest/service area out of Trieste, the same criminals have stolen the van and its content," said the statement. "Unluckily for them, following a great effort of electronic interception and lots of tailing, law-enforcement personnel had the opportunity to see the criminals in action [first hand]."

Police have since found the team's truck but, for legal reasons, Alto Evoution's equipment cannot yet be returned to them - forcing the team and riders Karl Muggeridge and Josh Brookes to miss the Misano event.

"On Friday the 8th Carabinieri have given us communication that the truck has been found and is now in a safe place in Trieste, again judges have [confiscated] the goods.

"This, and only this, is the reason for which we will not be able to participate at Misano on the 17th of June. There are no reasons to retire from championship, nor any financial difficulties whatsoever. Those who are responsible of the above mentioned facts have already been identified and will have to explain their actions in front of a judge.

"As soon as the goods are back in our full possession we will get ready for Brno [on July 22].

"We thank very much law-enforcement members, Carabinieri and judges who have done their best to give us the opportunity to race again and take part in the 2007 Superbike World Championship," the statement concluded.