Kawasaki to quit MotoGP?

Reports say Team Green will announce withdrawal Jan. 5

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Dec. 30, 2008
Reports from Europe say Kawasaki is pulling the plug on its MotoGP race team.

British motorsports site Autosport.com reports the Japanese manufacturer will announce its withdrawal from MotoGP racing on Jan. 5, 2009.

A Kawasaki withdrawal would leave riders John Hopkins and Marco Melandri without a ride and reduce the MotoGP grid to 17 entrants and four manufacturers.

If Kawasaki does withdraw from MotoGP, it would follow other Japanese manufacturers who

John Hopkins had a disappointing 2008 season with his performance hampered by an injured ankle.
Marco Melandri also had a poor 2008 season and was looking to turn things around with Kawasaki.
have recently pulled out of major motorsport competitions. Honda announced in early December its withdrawal from Formula One and AMA Road Racing while Suzuki and Subaru both opted to shut down their World Rally Championship programs. The current economic situation was cited as a main factor behind the announced withdrawals.

Recent performance may also be a factor for Kawasaki to pull out of MotoGP. Ramona, Calif. native Hopkins and Australian Anthony West had difficult seasons in 2008, finishing 16th and 18th respectively in a field of 18 regular competitors. In August, Kawasaki signed Marco Melandri to replace West in 2009. Melandri finished the 2008 season sandwiched between Hopkins and West in 17th place.

Hopkins, Melandri and test rider Olivier Jacques participated in the test session of the 2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR, Nov. 26-28 on Australias Phillip Island circuit.

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