The story about Kawasaki pulling out of Moto GP is still in play, as the factory has twice tested the 2009 bikes in spite of its firm statement that it wouldn’t be on the grid this year.
Moto GP owners Dorna are still trying to convince the factory to at least give/lease/lend the bikes to a private team to run, but the chances look slim — particularly since the ’09 prototypes were reported to be conspicuously unreliable in the tests.
Contracted riders John Hopkins and Marco Melandri have kept very low profiles, Hopkins saying he wasn’t interested in changing series and Melandri saying he wouldn’t mind a year off with pay. But at the MCN London Motorcycle Show in the U.K. last weekend, rumours were strong that Hopkins was going to sign with the Stiggy Honda Motorsports World Superbike team, parterning Leon Haslam.
The Scandinavian team last year partnered with HannSpree Honda in World Supersports (600), but this will be its first year at the top level. Haslam and the experienced Italian Roberto Rolfo had been signed, but Rolfo continues to be plagued with an injured shoulder that hasn’t healed properly. He struggled at the recent WSB tests in Portimao, Portugal, and apparently has been told he needs either an operation or a great deal of rest – either of which would leave the seat open.