Kawasaki’s one-rider MotoGP effort for the 2009 campaign will be re-branded ‘Hayate’, MCN can exclusively reveal.
Hayate means ‘Hurricane’ in Japanese and is the team name that Kawasaki’s ZX-RR will run in during next season.
Having suspended its premier class racing activities for 2009 back in January because of the global economic crisis, Kawasaki has opted to change its name because of the lack of factory involvement in a revived project.
A statement released by Kawasaki yesterday confirmed that lengthy negotiations about a rescue plan had ended successfully and that one ZX-RR would be run for Italian Marco Melandri in 2009.
The move leaves American John Hopkins out in the cold, even though he has a contract to race in Kawasaki in 2009.
It has been confirmed to MCN today that the Hayate team is currently setting up in the Qatar paddock in readiness for the night test, which gets underway on Sunday.
Melandri though is still insisting he has no deal in place for 2009 and that he will use the Qatar test to gauge the competitiveness of the new ZX-RR before deciding whether to continue into the new season.