Kawasaki Motors Racing

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Kawasaki Motors Racing
Kawasaki racing logo.png
2008 name Kawasaki Racing Team
Base Netherlands Amsterdam, Netherlands
Principal Managing Director: Yoshio Kawamura
Racing Director: Ichiro Yoda
Competition Manager: Michael Bartholemy
Rider(s) 33 Marco Melandri
21 John Hopkins
Motorcycle Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR
Tyres Bridgestone
Riders' Championships -

Kawasaki Motors Racing was the European subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and was located in Netherlands. It was responsible for managing the racing activities of the MotoGP team.[citation needed]

The subsidiary was set up in 2007 as a result of the Japanese manufacturer's necessary split from Harald Eckl's organisation, who managed the Kawasaki MotoGP team since 2002. The reason for the split was Eckl’s involvement with a competitor's MotoGP activities, which forced Kawasaki to terminate the relationship immediately.[1] For the first time since Kawasaki returned to the premier class of motorcycle racing, the team became a complete ‘in house’ factory team.

On January 9, 2009, Kawasaki announced it had decided to "... suspend its MotoGP racing activities from 2009 season onward and reallocate management resources more efficiently". The company stated that it will continue racing activities using mass-produced motorcycles as well as supporting general race oriented consumers.

2007 MotoGP season[edit]

The team used the new 800cc Ninja ZX-RR and Bridgestone tyres in 2007. Randy de Puniet and Olivier Jacque were chosen as team riders.

Olivier Jacque crashed in practice during the Chinese Grand Prix, gashing his arm severely enough to be unable to race for 2 Grands Prix. He returned to racing only to crash again during practice at the Catalan Grand Prix, missing this race too. Following the series of injuries, Jacque announced his retirement from competition, but planned to continue as a team test rider.[2] He was replaced by Australian rider Anthony West.[3]

The team's best result for the season was a 2nd place finish by Randy de Puniet at a wet Japanese Grand Prix.

2008 MotoGP season[edit]

For 2008 John Hopkins joined the team alongside Anthony West. Results were poor though, being regular midfield runners throughout the season.

In August 2008, Kawasaki signed Marco Melandri to join John Hopkins for the 2009 season.[4] However, the global financial crisis of 2008 caused Kawasaki to reconsider its MotoGP program, and the Italian sports daily Tuttosport reported on December 30 that Kawasaki would be pulling out of MotoGP for 2009.[5]

2009 MotoGP season[edit]

After negotiations with DORNA, Kawasaki provided a scaled down team named Hayate Racing Team for the 2009 season. The team was renamed due to limited factory involvement, with Kawasaki providing only one bike with Marco Melandri as the sole rider.[6]

The team achieved better than expected results with 6th and 5th placings early in the season. Melandri finished in 2nd place at the French Grand Prix. This result is equal to Kawasaki's best ever result in MotoGP and is their first podium finish since 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kawasaki: A new beginning in 2007". kawasaki-motogp.com. 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  2. ^ "West to Replace Jacque at Kawasaki". gpupdate.net. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  3. ^ "Anthony West gets a Kawasaki MotoGP Ride for the remainder of the season". Daily Motos. June 21, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  4. ^ "Marco Melandri confirms Kawasaki switch". motorcyclenews.com. 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  5. ^ "Kawasaki: addio MotoGp. Melandri a piedi". Tuttosport. 2008-12-30. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  6. ^ Kawasaki to race as Hayate MotoGP in 2009 motorcyclenews.com. Retrieved on 2009-05-09