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GP Week : Issue 53
>>Moto GPnews Kawasaki racing future in doubt … again HAVING been once persuaded to reverse its quit- racing decision, Kawasaki appears unlikely to extend even its current second-hand presence in the premier class into 2010. This puts the future of the current Hayate team and rider Marco Melandri back into melting pot, after the skeleton- staff team was brought back from the brink for one more year of racing. Kawasaki had decided to withdraw completely at the end of last year on financial grounds, but high-level diplomacy by Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta persuaded the industrial giant to give technical support to the semi- private Hayate team. Kawasaki would supply the latest (and much-improved) machines, but promised no further technical development. Strong results by Melandri early in the season, including a popular second in the wet- dry French GP, gave rise to hopes that the factory might be swayed to offer more support and development … but hopes are fading fast, according to crew chief Andrea Dosoli: “We are hoping and pushing Kawasaki next year. But I cannot say if I am optimistic or not, because we’re getting absolutely no feedback from Japan,”he said. At the same time Kawasaki was having a “fire sale”of extraneous items such as shipping crates, he said. Hayate was operating as a bare-bones outfit, with a total staff of only 12 and just one truck, but the atmosphere was positive in spite of the threat of imminent termination. Melandri may be the sole beneficiary: his strong performances this year have re-established his reputation, tarnished by a bad year at Ducati, and he has been approached to return to the Gresini Honda team, where he would ride alongside new signing Marco Simoncelli. 15