Carmelo Ezpeleta holds Kawasaki crisis talks

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Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has staged crisis talks with top Kawasaki management in Japan today in a bid to get the Japanese factory to race in MotoGP in 2009.

Kawasaki has still not officially announced details of its plan to withdraw from MotoGP with immediate effect, but the Japanese factory signalled its intention to quit during the Christmas break, as was first reported in the UK by MCN.

Having met with the Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association yesterday (Wednesday), Ezpeleta met directly with Kawasaki bosses today to discuss Kawasaki’s shock decision to quit because of the global economic crisis.

Kawasaki could face a hefty fine by pulling out as it signed a contract in 2007 that assured Dorna of its participation in MotoGP until the end of the 2011 season at least.

If Kawasaki is reluctant to continue in a factory role in 2009, then Ezpeleta has also been exploring other options to get two ZX-RR machines on the grid.

Current team boss Michael Bartholemy has also been frantically working on a rescue package since team members were informed of Kawasaki’s quit plan on December 29.

And high-profile 125 and 250 team boss Jorge Martinez has confirmed his interest in taking over the Kawasaki project. The loss of Kawasaki could drop the MotoGP grid down to 17 bikes and leave John Hopkins and Marco Melandri out of a ride.

Following today’s meetings between Ezpeleta and Kawasaki’s senior officials, an announcement of Kawasaki’s 2009 plans could come as soon as tomorrow.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt