Marco Melandri hopes to have a 2010 contract 'in his pocket' by the time he goes on holiday during the MotoGP summer break, which runs from July 26 to August 16.

After some giant-killing early season rides, the reality of riding an unofficial and underdeveloped Kawasaki ZX-RR, under the Hayate Racing banner, seems to be kicking in.

The 26-year-old Italian, who took three top-six finishes in the first four rounds - including a superb second in wet/dry conditions at Le Mans - has been a best of tenth in the last four rounds, dropping him from fifth in the championship to joint seventh.

With a 2010 Kawasaki U-turn regarding an official MotoGP entry highly unlikely, Melandri will need to find alternative employment next season, and has been linked most strongly with a return to Gresini Honda and to a lesser extent a Rizla Suzuki seat.

A return to Ducati is unthinkable, while Yamaha - for whom Melandri made his MotoGP debut as a factory rider in 2003 and took his first two podiums with Tech 3 early in 2004 (before a nightmare run of results) - has expressed little public interest.

"Now there are two more interesting races to come and we need to work hard and find a good bike for the future!" Melandri wrote on his official website, regarding the German and British rounds which take place before the start of the summer break.

"I really hope that I'll be going on holiday with a contract in my pocket for a different 2010, but in any case I'll stay positive and never give up!"

Melandri won five races and claimed 17 podiums as a Gresini Honda rider between 2005 and 2007, when he also finished runner-up to Valentino Rossi in the 2005 World Championship, before a disastrous switch to Ducati for 2008.

Gresini Honda has confirmed that Melandri is on the shortlist to join 250cc world champion Marco Simoncelli at the team next season. Like Melandri, Gresini hopes to make a decision on its second rider by the end of July.

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