Sepang test preview: No shock Kawasaki appearance in Sepang

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Kawasaki will not be present during this week’s three-day Sepang test session as hopes of a last-minute rescue deal to save the its factory team appear to be fading.

Test rider Olivier Jacque recently completed two tests in Eastern Creek and Phillip Island in Australia on the 2009 prototype ZX-RR, but the French rider won’t be in the Far East.

The future of Kawasaki in MotoGP remains shrouded in mystery, though MCN sources have said chances of a reprieve for John Hopkins and Marco Melandri seems highly unlikely.

MCN also understands the vast majority of Kawasaki’s factory team personnel had their contracts paid at the end of January.

It is now two weeks since team manager Michael Bartholemy flew to Japan for crunch talks on forming a ‘private’ team, yet nothing has emerged from the meetings about an amicable solution to move forward.

And despite interest from Northamptonshire-based engineering experts Ilmor, there has been no information emerging about a late deal to prevent the MotoGP grid from shrinking to just 17 bikes.

It is certain that American Hopkins won’t be in Malaysia. He’s currently on a coast-to-coast road trip across America with, and on Sunday night spoke to MCN as he prepared to watch the Superbowl in Atlanta.

“I’m still waiting for a resolution with Kawasaki because I am still contracted with them for next season. I haven’t heard anything recently, “said the 25-year-old, who has recently been linked with a shock World Superbike move to the Stiggy Honda squad with British rider Leon Haslam.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt