Kawasaki commit to 2009 with Melandri

Kawasaki have announced that they will remain in MotoGP with a single bike for Marco Melandri

Kawasaki commit to 2009 with Melandri

The Japanese manufacturer had previously declared that it would end its MotoGP programme due to the global economic crisis, but has now partially reversed its decision.

"Kawasaki announces that after constructive talks between Kawasaki, Dorna and other involved parties, a new one-rider team will participate in the 2009 MotoGP Championship season," said a Kawasaki statement.

"This decision was made after negotiations that followed Kawasaki's January 2009 announcement to suspend its factory supported MotoGP activities due to the economic crisis.

"The team will be equipped with Kawasaki motorcycles and supporting materials. That Kawasaki has come to this new team approach is the result of on the one hand the need for a strong reduction of MotoGP racing investments and on the other hand the necessity to come to constructive solutions for all related parties."

MotoGP organiser Dorna had been determined to find a way of keeping a Kawasaki presence in the championship, and had looked into placing the ex-factory bikes with a private team. Leading 250cc squad Aspar were initially tipped for the project, as was a new team to be formed from the former works Kawasaki squad.

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta had also hinted that he would take legal action if Kawasaki did not remain in the sport, as all the MotoGP manufacturers had signed up to an agreement to race in the championship through 2011.

The 2009 Kawasaki has already run in Australia with test rider Olivier Jacque.

John Hopkins had been set to stay on for a second season with Kawasaki alongside Melandri, but the announcement of a one-bike team leaves the American's future unclear.

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