Over the last three years, Camel together with Honda and the Honda Pons Team have achieved many successes in the premier class of the World Road Racing Championship. However, recent differences of opinion with the Japanese manufacturer concerning the choice of riders has meant that the 2006 project, in which Max Biaggi was planned to ride for the Camel team, has not been able to take off.
Japan Tobacco International, proprietor of the Camel brand, considers the veto against the rider as unjustified from many points of view, and has thus decided to break off relationships in MotoGP with Honda and with the Pons team.
Since the last world championship race, a number of opportunities with other manufacturers were examined and negotiations started to make the project with Max Biaggi a reality. Although carried out with great determination, none of these came to fruition and it has become apparent that this objective simply cannot be achieved.
In order to ensure continuity of the strategy for the Camel brand, JT International is thus considering a series of alternatives.
"We put considerable energy and great determination into the MotoGP project with Max, even when it became quite clear that this could not be done with Honda," commented Mr. Roberto Zanni, President of Japan Tobacco International Europe, "but in the end it proved impossible. The obstacles we found ourselves up against were various, decisive and, in a sense, inexplicable. It seems that the sporting spirit, which has always been part of motorcycle racing and which has given the public its great passion for this sport, had suddenly disappeared. It is this passion for sport which, on the contrary, remains a driving force for our Group, the philosophy on which we have based all our activities in the world of motorsport.
"I should like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who have contributed to our success in our first three years in the MotoGP," continued Mr. Roberto Zanni, "my thanks go to Honda and to Sito Pons, the owner of the team flying the Camel colours. I thank all our riders and, in particular, Max Biaggi, whom I would have liked to see back on the track with us. Our successes and the excitement we have shared have been, and still are an enormous incitement for our Group. They are landmarks in the history of Camel's involvement in the world of racing and, precisely for this reason, they must continue."