The start of Sunday's opening night of testing in Qatar also marked the return of Marco Melandri and Kawasaki to MotoGP action, under the new name of 'Hayate Racing Team'.

Kawasaki announced on Thursday that, after talks with Dorna and other parties, it had reversed its planned withdraw from MotoGP - made in response to the global economic crisis - and would instead support a new unofficial one-rider MotoGP team for 2009.

Melandri was named as the sole rider, although the former MotoGP World Championship runner-up claimed he has yet to officially agree to the project and is waiting to see how the 2009 ZX-RR performs at the three-night Qatar test.

Melandri, the first rider on track tonight, indicated that his first impression of the new ZX-RR was positive.

The Hayate Racing Team will be run by former Kawasaki Racing director Ichiro Yoda, with Andrea Dosoli as team manager and Jasja Bos team coordinator. Former Kawasaki Racing Team boss Michael Bartholemy does not appear to be involved in the new structure.

Hayate means hurricane in Japanese.