Makoto Tamada looks odds on for a dramatic switch to World Superbikes with the factory backed Kawasaki PSG-1 squad in 2008.
Tamada shot to fame when he won three races in World Superbikes at Sugo as a wildcard onboard a Honda.
Later he looked set to become a big player in MotoGP after seriously impressing in 2004 taking two wins on the Bridgestone shod Honda, but a switch to Michelin tyres saw his results slide.
In 2007 he rode for the Tech 3 Yamaha team on Dunlop tyres and was generally outpaced by his rookie team-mate Sylvan Guintoli leaving the 30-year-old no options in MotoGP.
MCN has learned Makoto Tamada is likely to be employed directly by the Kawasaki factory meaning he will contest in the prestigious Suzuka Eight-hour race and also play a part in the firms MotoGP testing programme.
Makoto Tamada will join Frenchman Regis Laconi onboard the new Kawasaki ZX-10R.
His arrival is likely to strengthen Japan’s involvement with the Italian PSG-1 team and provide a direct line of communication with Kawasaki’s Japanese technicians.
An official announcement is expected later this week.