Marco Melandri, Kawasaki back on for 2009 MotoGP

Dailies -


2009_Marco_Melandri_Kawasaki.jpgLast month, Kawasaki quit MotoGP. Now, it seems that after some Geneva Convention-defying negotiations with Dorna, the team will race with one rider this year. Kawasaki’s decision to go with former Ducati rider Marco Melandri is already proving controversial; a lawsuit is expected from John Hopkins.
Kawasaki originally pulled out of the series citing costs, but Dorna
threatened to fine the manufacturer $28.7 million for breach of
contract. Since development of the 2009 ZX-RR was already completed, we
assume Kawasaki found it cheaper to enter Melandri in the series than
to pay the fine.

MCN reports that Hopkins is now due to ride alongside Leon Haslam for Stiggy Honda in World Superbike.

Expect an official announcement very soon, we’ll keep you updated.

via MCN

  • Jonesy

    Wow, could it have been a plot to get Hopper off the Team ?!?! looks odd to me, any how … Nice to see them back…!

    • kees magielsen

      Melandri is doing what Hopkins would never have achieved as the Hopper is made of rubber.
      Melandri is truly experienced who knows how to ride a 4 cilinder bike. And even better he knows how to set up the bike.
      There is only one US guy who can beat Rossi and Stoner in the future and that is Ben Spies.

  • geonerd

    I, for one, am glad to see Hopper move on. Valentino Rossi is the only reason I watch MotoGP. SBK is way, way better racing. And after Bayliss’s huge finale I think the series built up a ton of buzz, not to mention the introduction of Aprilia and BMW. I’m really looking forward to this weekend.

  • will

    You guys always pick the best pictures.

  • Ben

    As much as I’d like to cheer for an American in MotoGP, Hopkins hasn’t ever fared particularly well. SBK is hopefully a better fit for him.

    • geonerd

      don’t worry. nicky will still be around this year to disapp.. i mean cheer for.

      • Ben

        There’s some small hope that proper Ducati support will give Hayden another title shot. Emphasis on small. At least he made it to the top once, though. This year may mark my first regular viewing of SBK.

  • KungFuGrip

    Geonerd… couldnt agree with you more. #46 has become the only reason to watch MotoGP.. maybe single tire manuf. will tighten up the the racing this year. Its nice to see that Marco and Hopper have jobs… but for the viewer… who cares… neither is going to touch the podium. GP needs some work… aside from Seca… last season was not exactly exciting.

    Now… SBK… diff story. Even Rossi is drooling over the series.

  • Michel

    So now Melandri is racing with a team that’ll be well funded and motivated, right? Because nothing motivates a team more than only being there to get out of paying a fine…

  • monkeyfumi

    Hopper got screwed.
    But, melandri basically said he’d ride for free if it meant he could have another chance in moto gp.
    I admire hopper, but he won’t ever be world champion, I think his drive fizzled out by spending too many years on the suzuki. At least melandri has won races at this level.
    I thought last year was better than 2007.
    Last season also had the exciting (though somewhat sickening) exploits of Lorenzo, catapulting himself into monumental highsides on numerous occasions.

    • geonerd

      unless rossi, pedrosa, stoner, hayden and lorenzo all drop dead before this season, i don’t see melandri making it into the top 5, especially on a kwak. i hereby pronounce the 2009 kawasaki motogp team DOA.

  • Michael

    Why did Dorna bail out a huge factory like Kawasaki, while letting IMO, more “genuine racers” R.I.P. (Team KR, Ilmor, WCM, Pons)?

    “Dornasaki” will not make it through the season.

  • Patrick Wighaman

    Back to what Ben said on Feb 26. I have been following this. I miss the Hopper, but yes he also could not put the Kawasaki in the top 3… On the moto GP race in France 5-17-08, Melandri 2nd..WoW even i was surprised!!!! Go Kawasaki

  • Patrick Wighaman

    I mean 5-17-09 .. the la Mans race… My bad butter fingers