Official: Kawasaki quits MotoGP

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Marco_Melandri_kawasaki.jpgKawasaki has just notified MotoGP’s owner Dorna Sports that it is pulling out of the series, effective immediately. The move is likely prompted by a combination of Great Depression 2.0 and the team’s lack of success in motorcycle racing’s premier class. Marco Melandri is likely to be hardest hit, he’d hoped the 2009 season with Kawasaki would revive a career left in tatters after his disastrous experience with Ducati. “I can only hope that when I wake up on January 1st it is all a nightmare,” Melandri told Autosport. Kawasaki is expected to make a public announcement on January 5.

via Motociclismo and Autosport

  • Travis

    Thats really too bad :(

  • http://motovation.wordpress.com pete

    i lost what little respect i had for kawa after hearing about this. i feel bad for marco because he was a great rider contending for the top podium spot before heading to ducati. now he’s scrambling to find a gp ride.

    • Gary Sideburn

      Lost respect for Kawasaki? There can’t be many factories you do respect now. Honda USA did exactly the same to Neil Hodgson from what I understand. Shit happens. People lose their jobs when other people stop spending. Marco is hardly going to find himself on the street.

  • Craig Roberts

    I feel very badly for Marco (and John Hopkins, too) but Kawasaki has made a wise business decision. Campaigning MotoGP machinery is insanely expensive, especially developing the highly technical ride-by-wire bikes of today. It would be foolhardy at this point for Kawa to try to go head-to-head with the engineering teams of HRC and Ducati.

    Kawasaki would be wise to concentrate in a high-profile way on Superbike racing, the results of which can translate much more directly into showroom sales.

    I’ll betcha the guys in Suzuki’s boardroom are discussing the merits of such a move, too.

  • Hiwatt Scott

    I don’t doubt Kawasaki’s engineering prowess (they just came out with the world’s fastest bullet train), just their gumption. And in the current economic climate, who can blame them? Racing teams in all types of racing are cutting back, even those at the top of the podium.

  • Craig Roberts

    Then again — Rossi has expressed boredom with MotoGP because the “digital” bikes tend to attenuate the “great battles” he favors (well, as long as he wins, anyway). If a jaded Valentino left the “premier class” in favor of WSBK (as some have fantasized), Dorna’s xenophobic little empire would collapse faster than a Desmosedici can run down the home straight at Valencia.

    Kawasaki’s decision could lead to a very intersting chain of events in the coming months. I hope things don’t happen too quickly, though. I’ve got tickets for Indianapolis and the Balatonring (Hungary) MotoGPs in 2009!

  • Isaac

    Well, looks like Moto GP 09 on the PS3 will be a bit smaller. Maybe this will make room for Aprilias return?

  • John Evans

    i think that this decision is wrong they should have not siged the riders and most of all think of the team members. where do they go they have no time to get on another team the riders have the money. but the macanics ore left holding nothing

  • http://www.iwishihadthis.com Adam

    NOOO!!! Kawasaki dont go! Very sad news… I think they should put the ZX-RR into mass production, and share the love.

  • Craig Roberts

    Kawasaki just signed contracts with John Hopkins and Marco Melandri, so the factory probably has to pay these guys through the 2009 MotoGP season anyway, right? Why not make them earn their pay by sending them on a worldwide dealership tour signing autographs and posing for photos with the ZX Supersport bikes? I’ll bet showroom floor traffic (and sales) will skyrocket.

  • Claude

    I just booked some VIP Rider’s of kawasaki hospitality ticket packages for both US races.
    Looks like I might have to change my plans.

  • Jonesy

    As a die hard Kawi fan i just hate to see them out of the premier class , but i can understand i sell motorcycles for a living and have done club racing dirt/street … its not cheap on any scale but i thinks its mainly being done because of a lack of podium spots… Lets not kid ourselves Kawasaki Heavy Industries could foot the bill if they were winning… Best of luck to Hopkins and Melandri

  • Tulo

    These japanese are so stupid.
    If they wanted to quit Motogp why hiring Melandri? Why saying no to Martinez proposal for a third bike? Why insisting in Nakano? Why saying they wanted to fight for te title in 2009?
    Now they have to pay milions to DORNA because of the contract signed just few years ago.
    And to pay milions to both riders and staff.
    Go away! You don’t deserve to compete with the best!