2012 World Supersport
After six successful years, the Parkalgar Honda team has taken the difficult decision to abandon World Supersport for the 2012 season.
With 12 wins, 29 podiums, two runner-up slots (2009 and 2010) to its name, the team managed by AIA circuit boss Paulo Pinheiro has wound up its presence in the category as a result of the difficult economic situation which made it tough for the team to maintain its high Supersport ambitions.
A permanent presence in Supersport since 2006, Parkalgar Honda also made a major contribution to bike racing in Portugal, thanks to the support of a rider of the calibre of Miguel Praia, a true flag-bearer for the sport in his home country.
Paulo Pinheiro says: "It was a difficult but unavoidable decision to take. Ours was without a shadow of doubt a successful project: our aim was to make Portimao’s Autodromo Internacional do Algarve circuit known throughout the world and in this we succeeded. Nevertheless, without the support of other backers, it was no longer possible to continue with the same conditions and ambitions in 2012.
"We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the success of the project, as well as the riders who defended our colours over the years: Simone Sanna, Eugene Laverty, Sam Lowes, Josh Hayes and obviously Miguel Praia. A special and sad mention must also go to Craig Jones: we will never forget him, he was an exceptional rider and person."
While a decision will be taken as to whether or not Parkalgar Honda can put together some sort of part-time program for the series, including taking part in its home round, rider Miguel Praia has also expressed his disappointment about the end of the team’s Supersport adventure.
Miguel Praia says: "I’m really sad at the moment, but at the same time I can consider myself proud to have been part of the project. We started off as the smallest team in the paddock and we reached the top of the category. With Parkalgar Honda I’ve had the best years of my career, they gave me the chance to improve as a rider and get some good results. Unfortunately our efforts have not allowed us to continue in 2012.
"In Portugal the only sport that has influence is football, everything else takes second best despite the results and the visibility for the country throughout the world. All that’s left for me now is to look for alternatives for the future, my hopes are to continue with Honda and with a competitive project. I’m convinced that it’s still not time for me to stop."