2008 Portuguese Grand Prix
Hopkins finishes fifth during his third ZX-RR start. It would be his best result of the season and possibly as a Kawasaki MotoGP rider.
2008 Catalan Grand Prix
Hopkins fractures vertebrae in Friday practice highside in Barcelona but returns to take tenth in the race.
2008 Dutch TT
Hopkins sustains leg fractures in 230km/h qualifying fall at Assen, forcing him to miss both the Dutch TT and next two rounds.
2008 Czech Republic Grand Prix
West scores MotoGP best of fifth at Brno, the highlight of an often miserable season in which he struggles with a chronic lack of rear traction.
Kawasaki confirms signing of former MotoGP World Championship runner-up Marco Melandri
to ride for Kawasaki in 2009 and 2010. "I'm confident that Marco will adapt quickly to Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR and that, together with John, he'll be able to take us to the next level with the development of the all-new 2009 bike,” said Bartholemy. "What is certain is that, with Marco and John, we will go into 2009 with our strongest rider line-up since Kawasaki made their full-time return to the premier class in 2002."
A deal for Jorge Martinez 'Aspar' to run a third ZX-RR in 2009 breaks down over rider choice; Aspar needs a Spaniard to please the sponsors lined up to back the project while Kawasaki wants Nakano to return.
2008 Valencian Grand Prix
What might have been the ZX-RR's final season ends with Hopkins 16th in the championship and West 18th, out of 18 full time riders. Kawasaki is fifth and last in the constructors' championship with just 88 points and is ninth out of ten in the teams' championship.
Kawasaki takes part in post-season testing at Valencia and Phillip Island - during which Melandri makes a promising debut on the ZX-RR.
Kawasaki announces 'suspension' of factory MotoGP activities for 2009 as a result of the worldwide financial crisis. The ZX-RR could yet race on if a privateer team, such as Aspar, can be found to run the machines, and Kawasaki can provide the necessary technical support. This scenario may also represent the best chance for Hopkins and Melandri with all other scheduled 2009 seats already occupied.
Kawasaki MotoGP results summary: 2002-2008
Front row starts:
Highest riders' championship ranking:
10th (Nakano - '04, '05)
Highest constructors' championship ranking:
4th ('04, '05)
Highest teams' championship ranking: