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Shinya Nakano officially signs for Kawasaki

Shinya Nakano officially signs for Kawasaki

Shinya Nakano officially signs for Kawasaki

Kawasaki have today officially announced the signature of Japanese rider Shinya Nakano to their MotoGP World Championship squad for the next two seasons. Nakano will line-up alongside Alex Hofmann and will make his first appearance on the Ninja ZX-RR on the 20th January in a joint test with HRC at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

"I am very happy to be joining Kawasaki and grateful to the factory for giving me this opportunity," commented Nakano, who is pictured shaking hands with Racing Director Shinichi Morita. "I think it is a great project – they have explained the development plans for the bike and the details of the team for 2004 and I am extremely motivated for the challenge. I am going to work hard with my team and my new team-mate Alex Hofmann to develop this bike. It will be my sixth season in the World Championship and I am going to try and get back on the podium."

The move ends a long relationship between Nakano and Yamaha, with whom he made his competitive debut in the Japanese Championship in 1995. He won the national series three seasons later and made his World Championship bow in 1999 as team-mate to Olivier Jacque at Tech 3, winning Rookie of the Year. The following season he finished runner-up to Jacque in a thrilling race for the title before moving up to MotoGP in 2001, when he again won the Rookie of the Year award.

Nakano's signature also marks the start of a new era for Kawasaki, who will also switch to Bridgestone tyres after a disappointing 2003 season with Dunlop. With Australian riders Garry McCoy and Andrew Pitt on board the team, directed by former rider Harald Eckl, finished last in the Team Championship classification.

MotoGP, 2003, Shinya Nakano, Kawasaki Racing Team

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