James Ellison yesterday announced his decision to quit the British Superbike Championship and leave the Hydrex Bike Animal Honda team.
Ellison, who has impressed in the British Superbikes Championship this year with a seventh-place finish, announced his decision at the final round of the season at Brands Hatch Indy on Sunday, amid rumours of a move to the Airwaves Ducati team for 2009.
The 28-year-old, who is yet to confirm his future plans, has recorded 20 top-ten finishes and four podiums this season.
Speaking on the announcement, Ellison said: “It’s been a fantastic year and it’s been a lot more than I expected from the team, they’ve been like a family and it’s a bit emotional leaving this weekend.
“They have taken me from the brink of extinction and put me back on the map again and I really wanted to get a couple of wins for them.
“I’d like to thank Shaun and the whole team for a mega job in looking after me and wish them well in the future.”
Ellison’s team manager, Sean Muir, was sorry to be losing the former Tech-3 Moto GP rider, adding:
“We’d like to thank James for his efforts this year; it’s been a pleasure working with him.
“He’s brought a great deal of professionalism into the team.
“We struggled with the new bike set-up and suspension but James buckled down and got on with the job.
“He’s come from a MotoGP and AMA background and he’s brought that professionalism with him and it’s been a real pleasure.
“Both myself, the team and sponsors wish him all the best in the future.
“He will remain a great part of our development and we’ll look forward to battling against him next year!”