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GP Week : Issue 37
>>Moto GPnews Marco Melandri is the new Hayate rider Hayate: the Kawasaki that dares not speak its name THE last-ditch rescue plan after Kawasaki announced the factory’s withdrawal from MotoGP now seems assured, after Marco Melandri agreed to race the renamed ZX-RR machine after testing it at Qatar. The deal was brokered by Dorna in negotiation with the team and with the Japanese factory, with the Spanish series promoters believed to have given financial backing rather than losing an entry from the grid. It rescues Melandri, who had signed for the factory after his disastrous 2008 with Ducati. But John Hopkins has been left out in the cold. So too has the Kawasaki name. One condition imposed by the Japanese was the name change – to Hayate, Japanese for “Hurricane”. Kawasaki will service and maintain machines for the Images used in GPWEEK are shot by the photo-artists at Sutton Images. Posters available of any shot – CLICK HERE for more information one-rider team, but there will be no development from the factory. Withdrawal from racing had been for economic reasons, the factory had said, although poor results were also thought to be a contributory factor. But the factory continued to test their revised 2009 machine, even before the deal was concluded. Melandri dragged his feet about the decision, after placing last at the Qatar tests. But with the option of sitting out the year, the former 250 champion elected to race instead. Hopkins has been silent about the new team, while negotiations are in progress concerning the termination of his contract with Kawasaki. Strong rumours have linked the Californian with a possible move to World Superbikes, if a place can be found for him. Interested in Aussie V8 Supercars? CLICK HERE to access Australasian Motorsport eNews ... 15