British MotoGP: Marco Melandri expecting Hayate withdrawal

Published: 23 July 2009

Italian Marco Melandri has confirmed he is expecting the Hayate team to quit MotoGP at the end of the season.

Branded Hayate, Melandri’s team is run by Kawasaki and he’s currently riding a 2009 factory ZX-RR. The impact of the global credit crunch saw Kawasaki withdraw its factory team from MotoGP back in January. Run as a one-rider effort for Melandri, Kawasaki only intended to race on for one more season to avoid a hefty fine from Dorna for breaking a contract that guaranteed Kawasaki would supply at least two bikes until the end of 2011.

And it looks like there will be no change of heart in Japan, despite some impressive performances from Melandri. The former world 250GP champion is currently sixth in the overall standings and he stunned the paddock with a brilliant second place in a rain-hit French GP at Le Mans back in May.

But speaking on the eve of the British GP, Melandri said: “I don’t really know because I asked in the Sachsenring what is going on with Kawasaki for next year and it doesn’t look like a good situation, even though we have some good results. At the moment it looks like Kawasaki want to stop and I’m pretty sad about that because this bike has a good base and if it could be developed a little bit. You can’t win but you can get close to the top five.”

The departure of Kawasaki has paved the way for Melandri to return to Fausto Gresini’s satellite Honda squad, though he has denied already signing a deal to partner Simoncelli.

Melandri though confirmed that would be his preferred option for 2010, adding: “Everybody keeps saying I’m already with Honda but it is not like that. For sure I hope to have some news by Brno.

"At this time you speak with everyone to understand the situation and to let people know I’m free. People have said I’ve already signed with Gresini but it is not true. I would like to do that though.”