It is no secret that Dorna was upset with Kawasaki’s decision to withdraw from the 2009 MotoGP championship. It was rumored that a lawsuit was threatened.
As part of an apparent settlement with Dorna, Kawasaki announced that it will race the 2009 MotoGP series, but with only one rider. That rider is Italian Marco Melandri, with whom Kawasaki already had a contract when it announced its decision to withdraw from racing. The other Kawasaki rider under contract at that time, John Hopkins, will still be sitting on the sidelines next year absent a deal from another team.
Here is the brief press release from Kawasaki:
FEBRUARY 26, 2009 – 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. 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. Rider for the new MotoGP team will be the Italian Marco Melandri.
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.
The new team will disclose more details about its 2009 season’s plans on a short notice.