John Hopkins insists he hasn't confirmed the withdrawal of Kawasaki from MotoGP and that it remains 'up in the air' as to whether he will be competing with the team in 2009.
The news that Kawasaki is on the verge of quitting MotoGP this week has rocked the sport, not least because of its sudden nature and the fact it will leave just four manufacturers and 17 bikes on the 2009 grid.
Even so, no official word has been made by the Japanese team as of yet, and until there is Hopkins insists he is unwilling to comment on the rumours.
Posting a message on his personal website, Hopkins, who endured a torrid maiden season with Kawasaki in 2008 following a series of injuries, played down the reports that stated him as confirming their departure.
“As you all know, everything is up in the air and people want answers. Everything from here is now in my managers hands. I have read nearly all articles posted and find it absolutely crazy how people are stating that I have announced this/or said that. when in fact I have avoided ALL phone-calls from the media until time permits.
“There will be an official press release held very soon, where we can confirm or deny all rumours. I will let you all now as soon as I get the go ahead. I just wanted to say thank you for all your support through this year and now. Will keep you posted…”
Marco Melandri, who only rode the Kawasaki for the first time last month, has reportedly been notified of the team's exit via a letter. Kawasaki had spent several months attempting to free Melandri from a multi-year contract with Ducati.
Should they withdraw, Kawasaki will become the fourth Japanese brand to quit a major series following on from Honda in Formula 1, as well as Suzuki and Subaru in the World Rally Championship.