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Kawasaki finalise Melandri signing on two-year contract

Kawasaki finalise Melandri signing on two-year contract

Michael Bartholemy, Kawasaki Racing´s Competition Manager, confirmed on Sunday morning that the factory team had secured the services of Marco Melandri for the next two years.

Former 250cc World Champion and MotoGP runner-up Marco Melandri will ride for Kawasaki in 2009 and 2010, having signed a contract with `Team Green´ at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

The move had been on the cards for several weeks, with Melandri himself having already stated his intention to move to Kawasaki in the post-race test at Brno last month.

Kawasaki boss Michael Bartholemy told, `A few hours ago we secured Marco Melandri after eighteen months of negotiations -we started approaching him last year- and I think with him and John (Hopkins) it is the strongest rider line-up that we have had since we joined MotoGP in 2003.´

Melandri will make his debut aboard the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR during the two-day test immediately after the conclusion of the 2008 season at Valencia in October.

The Italian rider will look to rebuild his confidence and form with his new team after a difficult time with current outfit Ducati. Melandri finished second in the World Championship in 2005 and in the top five in 2006 and 2007 on Honda machinery, before struggling to adapt to the Desmosedici GP8 this year. His contract for 2009 had been terminated by mutual consent.

Kawasaki will be the fourth manufacturer for whom Melandri has ridden in MotoGP, after Yamaha and the aforementioned Honda and Ducati rides.

Melandri´s move is an important one for the state of the MotoGP grid, being the first instance of a rider switching teams to be officially confirmed for 2009.

MotoGP, 2008, Marco Melandri, Kawasaki Racing Team

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