Marco Melandri confirms Kawasaki switch

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Marco Melandri has confirmed to MCN that he will join Kawasaki’s factory squad for the 2009 MotoGP world championship.

Speaking to MCN in Brno last night, the Italian revealed he informed Kawasaki boss Michael Bartholemy immediately after Sunday’s Czech Republic GP that he had accepted an offer to ride a factory ZX-RR with John Hopkins next season.

“Next year I will be with Kawasaki. Everything is okay with them. I just have to sign. I have agreed with them for the future and I will be with them.We have been talking together and we are okay on all the points,“ said the former world 250 champion.

Melandri was also in discussions about a possible return to Fausto Gresini’s satellite Honda squad. But his preference was to remain in a factory team and Melandri confirmed he had informed his former team boss of his decision to sign with Kawasaki on Sunday night.

“I have explained my reasons to Fausto. I was very positive to go back with Fausto but finally I decided to go another way and I want to ride the Kawasaki because to me on track it looks a good bike.”

After a nightmare season with Ducati, Melandri recently negotiated a termination of his two-year contract a year early at the end of the 2008 season.

His place next to reigning world champion Casey Stoner will be taken by 2006 MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden in a deal that is expected to be confirmed in Misano later this month.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt