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Honda has no plans to pull out of MotoGP

HONDA Motor Co. may withdraw from most forms of motorcycle racing in a bid to cut costs, although it has no plans to pull out of MotoGP.

Japan's second-largest carmaker, which has already left Formula One, hopes to save an estimated 3 billion yen (US$33.73 million) as the worldwide economic crisis continues to bite.

"We have not formally decided yet but we have been looking into the option of pulling out," Honda's Akemi Ando said yesterday.

"It is something we have been thinking about for a while since we pulled out of Formula One. We have no plans to leave MotoGP."

Motocross, motorcycle trials and other forms of off-road racing will be the main victims of Honda's latest cost-cutting measures. The auto maker withdrew from Formula One last month to reduce costs amid a slump in global car sales.

It has won 14 premier class motorcycling world titles, its breakthrough triumph coming in 1983 and most recently with Nicky Hayden in 2006.

Honda's works team will not be on the grid for the popular Suzuka Eight-Hour World Endurance Race in July, but the company pledged its commitment to the event at its home circuit.

"It's not strictly accurate to say Honda are pulling out of the Eight-Hour race," said Ando. "It is true that our works teams will not take part. But Honda supplies bikes and technical support to many of the teams and 60 percent of the bikes on the grid will still be Honda bikes."


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