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Kawasaki close in on Melandri deal and third bike for 2009

Kawasaki close in on Melandri deal and third bike for 2009

Kawasaki´s Michael Bartholemy has provided an update on the proposed recruitment of Italian MotoGP rider Marco Melandri.

Following Marco Melandri´s comments on Tuesday, on the final day of testing at Brno, that he is set to join Kawasaki at the end of this year, the Japanese manufacturer´s MotoGP Competition Manager Michael Bartholemy has confirmed that a deal is on the table – with final confirmation from Japan currently being awaited.

Bartholemy told on Wednesday that the stamp of approval from his own bosses at Kawasaki Heavy Industries was still required, commenting, `We have reached an agreement with Marco Melandri meaning that he would join us for the next two years, but the deal still has to be approved by Kawasaki in Japan.´

Explaining what Melandri´s arrival would mean for current Kawasaki rider Anthony West, Bartholemy declared, `With regard to Anthony he will not be part of the main Kawasaki MotoGP team next season but we want to offer him a contract to remain as a Kawasaki factory rider, because we have invested a lot in him to bring him up a level since he joined us last year. That could mean that Anthony rides for us in another World Championship series.´

Meanwhile, Bartholemy is also still finalising plans to bring a third Kawasaki machine onto the MotoGP grid on a permanent basis next season and is positive about such a project taking place. For West that could mean a chance to remain in the premier class of motorcycle competition depending on sponsorship demands.

As Bartholemy explained, `If we do run a third bike it would be up to the sponsors and the management who the rider is, but Anthony West could be part of the package that we offer. In Misano we should be able to confirm that Melandri has joined us and we should be able to clarify the situation with the third bike.´

MotoGP, 2008, Kawasaki Racing Team

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