Kawasaki's 'suspension' of its factory MotoGP activities for 2009 marks the end of a challenging chapter for the Japanese company, whose ZX-RR motorcycle is the only factory entry not to have won a grand prix since the 990cc four-stroke era began in 2002.
The following is a brief summary of Kawasaki's MotoGP project from 2002 - 2008...
2002 Pacific Grand Prix:
The ZX-RR makes its MotoGP debut towards end of the 2002 season, in the hands of Kawasaki's WSBK race winner Akira Yanagawa, on home ground at Motegi. Yanagawa qualifies the angular-looking machine 18th out of the 22 riders, but crashes out of the race after an engine failure, sustaining a broken pelvis in the process.
2002 Malaysian Grand Prix
The injured Yanagawa is replaced by Kawasaki's former World Supersport champion Andrew Pitt for the remaining three rounds of the season, starting at Sepang in Malaysia, where Pitt takes the ZX-RR to its first MotoGP finish (albeit 19th and last).
2002 Valencian Grand Prix
Pitt scores the ZX-RR's first MotoGP points by claiming twelfth (out of 14 finishers) in the Valencia season finale.
2003 Japanese Grand Prix
The ZX-RR's first full season of racing starts at Suzuka, Japan, with a full two-rider line-up of Pitt and former 500cc race winner Garry McCoy.
2003 French Grand Prix
McCoy scores his first ZX-RR points, and claims Kawasaki's best finish of the season, with ninth place in a wet French Grand Prix at Le Mans (round four). McCoy scores points on only two further occasions.
2003 Valencian Grand Prix
McCoy finishes the season 22nd in the world championship, with 11 points, with Pitt 26th and last on just 4 points. Test and development rider Alex Hofmann impresses by being top Team Green rider in wild-card appearances at Mugello and Assen. Both McCoy and Pitt leave Kawasaki after the Valencia finale. Kawasaki finishes seventh and last in the constructors' championship (19 points) and 12th and last in the teams' championship (15 points).
2004 South African Grand Prix
New season begins with Hofmann promoted to a full time race seat alongside former 250cc world championship runner-up and 500cc podium finisher Shinya Nakano. Kawasaki also changes from Dunlop to Bridgestone tyres.
2004 Italian Grand Prix
Nakano miraculously escapes serious injury when his rear tyre explodes at 300km/h (186mph) during the Italian GP at Mugello. Shinya is back in action just a week later at Catalunya, where he claims the ZX-RR's best race result to date with a seventh place finish.