MotoGP 09: Kawasaki set to pull out

John Hopkins

Over the New Year it was revealed that Kawasaki were to pull out of the 2009 MotoGP season, leaving riders John 'Hopper' Hopkins and Marco Melandri without a team, and only four factory teams remaining on the track.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Kawasaki are yet to make a formal announcement, but the BBC reports that the economic climate and poor returns on the circuit are likely to be the main factors of the pull-out. Since joining the MotoGP tour in 2003, the team has failed to win a race.

Despite speculation linking Melandri with an immediate switch to the Gresini team, the plans of both riders are very much unknown. It has also been rumoured that the Aspar team are looking to keep the Kawasaki MotoGP profile alive for the forthcoming season.

Kawasaki are the latest in a line of Japanese manufacturers to pull out of motorsport in recent months; Honda announced that they were leaving Formula 1 back in December, while Suzuki and Subaru have withdrawn from this year's World Rallying championship.