Team Kawasaki Pulls Out of 2009 MotoGP

Motorcycle manufacturer Kawasaki has pulled out of the 2009 MotoGP, following the steps of its fellow Japanese vehicle manufacturers, to cut costs due to the global market meltdown.

Kawasaki’s Katsuhiro Sato said, “We took the final decision not to continue in MotoGP. It's something we have been considering since mid-December. In the current economic climate and unless the situation improves it is difficult to say if we will return."

Kawasaki had competed in the MotoGP since 2003, and was spending up to £28.8m. annually. Japanese companies Honda, Subaru and Suzuki had already announced that they would forego the motorsports calendar ( F1, World Rally Championship) for 2009 because of the recession.

The Japanese motorcycle manufacturer is reeling from weak sales of its bikes in the United States and Europe.

Kawasaki Motors Racing, based in the Netherlands, has failed to win races in the MotoGP—their best finish was with French rider Randy de Puniet’s second place in Japan during 2007. The racing team had a lackluster 2008 campaign, with lead rider John Hopkins, sidelined by injuries for most of the season and the team finishing 16th overall. Hopkins along with new team-mate Marco Melandri of Italy will be looking for a different team for the 2009 season.

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