Rumour says Kawasaki exits


Hopper and Kawasaki exit

There have been rumours circulating for several days that Kawasaki was pulling out of Moto GP from a number of European sources, including MCN and Autosport in the U.K. Now, according to the well-connected Spanish magazine, it’s for real. The team’s press officer denies the story, but Autosport claims that a public announcement is set for Monday, January 5.

According to Motociclismo Kawasaki has notified Dorna (the series owner and organizer) and the other teams. Presumably, if it’s true it’s because of the factory’s not-very-secret frustration with the amount of money being spent on the program without any results, combined with the current global economic slow-down.

Team manager Michael Bartholomew had previously said the team would be getting by without a budget increase for 2009, and there have already been two test sessions in Valencia and Philip Island, with entirely new bikes scheduled to be ready for February.

Not a very happy New Year bit of news for riders John Hopkins and new signing Marco Melandri, if it’s true. Both riders would be very welcome in World Superbikes if they professed any interest, and certainly there are some lesser lights in the Moto GP field who must be a little nervous at the thought of being displaced.

Needless to say, losing a factory team and two of only 19 entries for 2009 would be a serious hit for the Moto GP series.


  1. Understandable when you lose all the time. It just demonstrates the frustration of being second , or third best – maybe even worse!

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