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Bartholemy says Kawasaki `two signatures away´ from Melandri and third bike

Bartholemy says Kawasaki `two signatures away´ from Melandri and third bike

Deals to bring Marco Melandri and a third bike to the Kawasaki MotoGP project for 2009 are scheduled to be concluded within days.

In the secretive world of MotoGP, in which cards are more often than not played close to the chest, Kawasaki Racing have been refreshingly open about their plans for the forthcoming season –plans which are expected to be tied up within the next week.

Marco Melandri had announced some time ago that he would be putting pen to paper on a deal with `Team Green´ for 2009, although one signature remains to be added to the contract, as Kawasaki Competitions Manager, Michael Bartholemy, explained on Thursday in Indianapolis.

`We are very close to confirming Marco for the future. Tomorrow morning I hope that we will have the signature of our president, so that we can announce the deal as soon as possible.

`He´s a rider that I was looking for since last year, and I hope that this deal can happen. He will be very welcome here.´

The addition of proven racewinner Melandri to the Kawasaki fold, alongside the retention of John Hopkins for a second season, would complete the factory team lineup for next year. Also on the agenda is a third bike, with Jorge Martinez Aspar linked with the project as Team Manager.

`For the third bike, the idea of all the parties involved is very clear,´ continued Bartholemy. `The money is there, the president has given the green light; many things are moving along positively. We don´t yet have the financial signature from Kawasaki, because people from other sections are also involved and they had small concerns about whether we could supply on a high level.

`There will be some internal meetings, and we will have a final answer from the middle to the end of next week.´

MotoGP, 2008, RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GRAND PRIX, Marco Melandri, Kawasaki Racing Team

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