Kawasaki's involvement in the MotoGP world championship was officially curtailed on Friday morning [9 January] as parent company Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd confirmed that the economic climate had taken its toll.

The withdrawal was revealed with a short statement from Japan, reproduced in full below:

"Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today that it has decided to suspend its factory MotoGP racing activities from 2009 season.

"Amid quickly changing business environment, Kawasaki has been promptly taking countermeasures to cope with the situation. As the world economy is not likely to recover in a short period due to the major impact of the financial crisis, Kawasaki decided to suspend its MotoGP racing activities from 2009 season onward and reallocate management resources more efficiently.

"Kawasaki will continue racing activities using mass-produced motorcycles as well as supporting general race-oriented customers. Kawasaki would like to thank all the fans and all those who have forwarded us great help.

"Mr Yoshio Kawamura, the managing director of Kawasaki Motors Racing B.V. deeply appreciates the contribution and the dedication brought by staff members of the MotoGP team."

Kawasaki's exit leaves the MotoGP grid with just 17 expected entries unless a privateer effort can be found to run the green machines - or others from rival marques - ahead of the 2009 season-opener in Qatar in April. The future of intended Kawasaki riders John Hopkins and Marco Melandri remains similarly clouded.