Rumors are flying as to whether Kawasaki will be on the MotoGP grid come 2010. If the Italian press is to be believed, Hayate Team Manager Andrea Dosoli has already declared that Hayate will be a no-show for next season.
However, an interview with Marco Melandri at Laguna Seca, by reliable MotoGP Matters, suggests that Kawasaki has yet to make a decision on MotoGP, and could be holding judgment until after the next round at the Sachensring .
According to reports in the Italian press, Dosoli said that he didn’t expect Kawasaki to return to MotoGP next season.
“I don’t think that Kawasaki will be here next year: The decision to pull out was taken at a very high level, and coming back into MotoGP would be an admission that they made the wrong decision.”
The Hayate team has had minimal support from Kawasaki this year, and is running what is essentially last year’s bike. Considering what they’ve been up against, Hayate and Marco Melandri have done a remarkable job, taking second at the French GP in Le Mans, and currently standing 8th in the Championship points.
“With a budget of 25% of what it was last year, I think we’ve done pretty well,” said Dolsoi, who is proud of what his team has accomplished. Sacrifices have been made at every turn, with crew members of the team doubling up on jobs. For instance, Dosoli is both team manager and crew chief to Marco Melandri. Hayate has also reduced costs by cutting out things like press releases, and selling unnecessary equipment such as their hospitality unit and transporters.
Many thought that this season with Kawasaki was Melandri’s make or break season. After performing poorly at Ducati, Marco hoped that by moving to Kawasaki, it would show the world that it was the GP8, not the Italian rider, that was the problem. Nicky Hayden clearly wishes that this point could be proven more loudly, as he sits 13th in the Championship points, after taking Melandri’s spot at the Factory Ducati team.
With Hayden on a factory ride, five places down from Melandri who is running last year’s bike, Marco has quietly, but poininatly gotten the message across. At the beginning of the season, Melandri said, “my motivation is this, and to show Kawasaki that they made a mistake in choosing to pull out their factory support.” We think Melandri has proven that point to Kawasaki, with the season only at the halfway mark, and likely proven it to Ducati was well.
Rumors now point to Melandri joining Marco Simoncelli at Gresini Honda. This would be a homecoming for Melandri, having probably seen his best performances while riding for the Gresini backed team.
Hayate has been struggling so far at Laguna Seca this weekend, so it will be interesting to see what comes of things at the Sachsenring in Germany , and what announcements might be made. One thing is certain though, if Hayate does pull-out, Dorna will be looking at a grid under its magical 18 bikes minimum.