Kawasaki bosses will have whittled a 2009 rider shopping list down to just two riders after this weekend’s Catalunya MotoGP in Barcelona.
A short list of five riders, including struggling Aussie Anthony West, has been compiled and a final decision on who will partner John Hopkins in 2009 will be taken after the Dutch MotoGP in Assen at the end of June.
Colin Edwards is believed to be one name on Kawasaki’s hit list, with Chris Vermeulen and Andrea Dovizioso believed to be other targets.
Kawasaki team boss Michael Bartholemy refused to confirm any names in Mugello last weekend, but told MCN: “The list is finished and the final selection will be finished on Monday after Catalunya.
“We want to be down to two names by then. After Assen I will go to Japan and then we can decide.”
With Kawasaki still to commit to running a third motorbike in 2009, Bartholemy denied Edwards would be shrugged aside if the factory remained a two-rider effort.
Some Kawasaki management are believed to oppose to having two American riders, but Bartholemy added: “It is not a big advantage for the market to have two American riders but if our management says its okay for us I think he is very good to develop a bike and he has a lot of experience.
“I think that would be a benefit for us but we haven’t talked about money and signing. But he could be interested and I said to him we could be interested in having a rider with his experience.”
Edwards began tentative discussions with Kawasaki in Le Mans last month.