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Kawasaki Racing get green light from Japan to run third bike

Kawasaki Racing get green light from Japan to run third bike

The possibility of a third Kawasaki bike on the 2009 MotoGP grid is looking increasingly likely following the approval of plans from Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan.

Attempts to introduce a third factory-spec Kawasaki to the 2009 World Championship field have taken a serious step in the right direction, further to approval from Japanese management of Michael Bartholemy´s plans to run the extra bike.

The European-based Kawasaki Racing Competition Manager now has permission to fully control the progression of discussions to secure sponsorship and the all-important element of a suitable rider. After lengthy negotiations, work on the project could now develop at pace and final details could even be announced before the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in a fortnight´s time.

Bartholemy told on Saturday morning at Phillip Island, `There have been many, many discussions in the past months, many ups and downs. We had a big meeting with Carmelo (Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO) and our presidents in Motegi and we then said we would make an announcement within the next ten days.´

`So from our side now it is clear that we are able to supply a third bike for the championship. We have the resources confirmed to do it, we can put the team together, we have the engineers and all these necessary things, but now we have to find the money to run it and also we have to find the rider, so those will be the next steps.´

The philosophy behind the project will be for Kawasaki to run the bike within the factory structure, using their own technical staff, with additional funding and an appropriate level of management influence from a third party providing sponsorship.

Bartholemy wants the project to accelerate the development - and therefore increase the competitiveness – of the Ninja ZX-RR which will be ridden by John Hopkins and new signing Marco Melandri in the main factory team next season.

`We have to meet now with the people that we see as able to pay for a project like this,´ added Bartholemy. `We have one rider in mind that could help this project to develop quickly, so that we can bring all our bikes up to a better level next year. So this is what we have to look at setting up together over the next few days.´

MotoGP, 2008, AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Kawasaki Racing Team

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