Kawasaki makes it official



Kawasaki has officially announced that it will no longer compete in MotoGP.

Here’s the press release, edited for length:

"Tokyo, January 9, 2009 — Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today that it has decided to suspend its factory MotoGP racing activities from 2009 season.

"Amid quickly changing business environment, Kawasaki has been promptly taking countermeasures to cope with the situation. As the world economy is not likely to recover in a short period due to the major impact of the financial crisis, Kawasaki decided to suspend its MotoGP racing activities from 2009 season onward and reallocate management resources more efficiently.

"Kawasaki will continue racing activities using mass-produced motorcycles as well as supporting general race-oriented customers."

There’s still thinking that the bikes may be on the grid. Team manager Michael Bartholomew has been in Japan for the past week, and Dorna (owner of the series) has been pushing hard for any solution that would have the bikes on the track. This scenario would have Kawasaki giving Bartholomew the bikes to run and spare parts, but no longer doing development work.

Since the bike is already uncompetitive, that’s not much other than making up the numbers, really. It also leaves the riders and their not-inconsiderable salaries up in the air.

Racing "using mass-produced motorcycles" implies that superbike support will continue, certainly at the World level and likely also here in Canada. Likely also is racing in the U.S. series; Suzuki has just announced it will compete there after all, so Kawasaki (with two already-contracted riders) is likely to follow suit.

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