American John Hopkins has confirmed Kawasaki has notified him of its intention not to compete in the 2009 MotoGP world championship.
The bombshell news was communicated to the 25-year-old on December 29 while he is continuing his bid to regain full fitness after recent surgery to remove metal plates from his left leg.
The rest of Kawasaki’s stunned team personnel, including new recruit Marco Melandri, were all informed of the quit plan on the same day.
The decision to pull out leaves Hopkins frozen out of MotoGP after just one injury-hit disastrous campaign and he confirmed he been notified by team manager Michael Bartholemy in a telephone call to his California home on Monday.
“I heard it’s up in the air, but I haven’t heard anything confirmed yet,” said Hopkins. "I got some calls from the team manager and he said that everything could be up in the air as to whether they run it or not, but nothing has been confirmed.”
Asked what the implications of Kawasaki’s withdrawal would have on his future, Hopkins said he was in the dark, but had immediately consulted with his management team.
“I don’t know what it would do to me", added Hopkins, who finished 16th in the 2008 MotoGP series. “I’m really not sure. I’ve been talking to my managers and seeing what the plan is and they’ve been on the phone to Japan trying to figure it out as well. Right now I’m still contracted to them so I’m not sure what the plan is.”