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MOTOGP NEWS 

Ezpeleta not worried by Kawasaki exit

Carmelo EzpeletaDorna's CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta says he is not worried about the sport following the withdrawal of Kawasaki from MotoGP.

As revealed by autosport.com, the Japanese manufacturer will pull out before the start of the season, although there remains the possibility that the bikes could be run by Jorge Martinez's team.

If that's not the case, the MotoGP field would be reduced to just 17 bikes this year.

Ezpeleta, however, reckons the sport can remain as strong as ever.

"First of all, we have to deal with the Kawasaki situation," Ezpeleta told Motosprint. "They have a contract with Dorna stating their commitment to participate in the championship at least until 2011.

"Logically, from the moment I was informed by Kawasaki, I've had several talks with them: I brought up the agreement they signed with us, then asked them to reconsider their position, and therefore asked them to postpone their decision to retire.

"Am I worried? No, because I've thought a lot about everything and I think I can take the blow. If in 2009 and 2010 we manage to maintain the spectacle supplied by MotoGP up to now, then we'll all come out stronger for it.

"As the person responsible for the championship, I have the duty of considering every possible outcome, and even in the worst possible scenario, I don't see any catastrophic situation."

When asked what would the worst-case scenario be, Ezpeleta added: "Starting the 2009 season with 17 bikes on the grid.

"It's neither ideal nor what I want, but it isn't a tragedy either. However, I think that won't happen in the end: I consider that in the end we'll race with 19 bikes. But if that's not the case, then it just means we race with one bike less than in 2008.

"The priority is to have 19 bikes at least in 2010. At any cost. And I've started working towards this since the day Kawasaki told me they're quitting.

"Anyway, the possibility that two Kawasakis will take part in the 2009 season, one way or another, shouldn't be ruled out. After all, Kawasaki signed an agreement with Dorna and these deals can't just be binned from one day to the next."

The Dorna boss also insisted the sport must act to reduce costs to cope with the current financial crisis.

"MotoGP must start cutting costs. I already have many ideas but I can only make proposals. It's up to the constructors to take certain decisions and find a way to go racing while spending less. I'd propose for example just three bikes per team, so I'd do with one less.

"I'd use steel brakes, no more carbon ones. If useful, I'd cancel Friday practice. And the satellite teams' bikes should be competitive for at least two seasons, unlike now when at the end of a season they get destroyed to be rebuilt from scratch."

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