Yesterday we reported that Yuki Takahashi would not be racing at Laguna Seca, today the news is even worse. In a statement issued jointly by Team Scot and Honda, the team announced that Takahashi has been dropped for the rest of the season, in favor of Gabor Talmacsi. The reasons for the decision were simple, and stated plainly: It was a matter of money. Team Scot needed the income provided by Gabor Talmacsi and their new sponsor, Hungarian oil company Mol, but couldn't afford the extra bikes needed to allow them to run both Talmacsi and Takahashi. And so Takahashi had to go, as the Japanese rider's results so far had been very disappointing.
The withdrawal of Takahashi leaves the MotoGP class without a Japanese rider for the first time since 1992, a situation the Japanese factories - and especially Honda - have struggled to avoid for many years. But the flow of talent coming out of Japan recently has dropped to just a trickle, with fewer Japanese rider entering through the 125 series and working their way up through the ranks. The question is now whether next season will see the return of a Japanese rider, with 250cc championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama the current favorite to make the step up to MotoGP.
Below is the text of the press release issued by Team Scot concerning the release of Yuki Takahashi:
From the US Grand Prix onwards, the Scot Racing Team will continue in the MotoGP class with the Hungarian rider Gabor Talmacsi. With great regret the Team announces that - due to unavoidable circumstances - Yuki Takahashi will not continue.
The decision was reached after exhaustive attempts to find a way to continue with two riders, but the economic realities facing the Team due to the increased cost involved in running two riders, combined with a health problem of Yuki, has led to this regrettable decision.
Cirano Mularoni, Scot Racing Team Manager, said: "The Team would face a lot of new costs to line up two riders and without the possibility to improve its results with Yuki because he has suffered a slipped disc in his back, most likely caused by recent falls. So our team has decided to stop racing with Yuki and to wait for his recovery before taking any decisions on his future".
Shuhei Nakamoto, vice president of HRC said: "For Honda as well as the Scot Racing Team, this is a sad announcement and one we wanted to avoid if at all possible. But we understand the Team's problems with regard to the increased costs of running two riders. Takahashi was the only Japanese rider in the MotoGP championship and of course Honda wanted to see him continue. But in the end the Team made it clear that this outcome was impossible and we respect their decision. Honda will continue to support the Scot Racing Team in MotoGP with Gabor Talmacsi riding".
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