Kawasaki confirms that star rider Nakano will leave the team (for an ill-fated satellite Honda ride) at the end of the 2006 season.
2006 Valencian Grand Prix
Nakano's final season at Kawasaki ends with 14th in the world championship and 92 points, while de Puniet's first in MotoGP is marked by 16th position and 37 points. Kawasaki slips to sixth in the constructers' championship (109 points) and seventh in the teams' championship (129 points).
Kawasaki splits from Harald Eckl, who had run its MotoGP team since 2002, due to his 'serious involvement with a competitor's MotoGP activities' (rumoured to be Ilmor). Kawasaki takes its restructured MotoGP race team 'in-house' for 2007 but the upheaval, combined with scepticism over the team's new 800cc machine, mean no top riders are interested and Jacque - who had been given a test and development role after his Shanghai success - finds himself promoted to a full time race seat alongside de Puniet for 2007.
2007 Catalan Grand Prix
Despite its troubled 'birth', Kawasaki's first 800cc machine shows potential in the hands of de Puniet, who claims his first front row start at round seven in Catalunya. By contrast, Jacque suffers a difficult, accident littered, start to the season - scoring points in just one race - and steps back to the role of test and development rider after missing Catalunya due to injury.
2007 British Grand Prix
250cc and World Supersport race winner Anthony West
drafted in to replace Jacque from Donington Park onwards, where the Australian scores five points on his ZX-RR race debut.
Competition manager Michael Bartholemy confirms that Kawasaki has signed John Hopkins
for 2008 and 2009. Hopkins goes on to finish fourth in the 2007 world championship for Suzuki with four podium finishes.
2007 Japanese Grand Prix
de Puniet scores his first and only Kawasaki MotoGP podium with second place at round 15, Motegi. It marked the ZX-RR's fourth, and perhaps last, rostrum finish.
With Hopkins confirmed, West and de Puniet look set to fight for the remaining 2008 seat, but de Puniet surprises the paddock - and Kawasaki - by signing for Honda LCR before any final decision about Hopper's team-mate is made. West is duly confirmed as staying at Kawasaki, alongside Hopkins, five days later.
2007 Valencian Grand Prix
de Puniet finishes eleventh in the world championship with 108 points while Kawasaki takes fifth in the constructors' championship (144 points) and seventh in the teams' championship. West scores points in all but one of his eleven starts, with a best of seventh.
Kawasaki causes a stir by debuting a prototype 'screamer' engine during testing at Sepang, but it is never used in a grand prix. Indeed, Kawasaki opts not to introduce a new 2008 version of the ZX-RR, choosing instead to develop the 2007 model.
Hopkins injured at Phillip Island test, forcing him to miss vital pre-season development.