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Ezpeleta: Kawasaki testing now, must race.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has warned Kawasaki that its ZX-RRs must race in MotoGP this season - something that is looking more likely after a subsequent revelation that factory test rider Olivier Jacque will be on track with the ZX-RR in Australia.

Kawasaki, which officially announced that it was suspending its factory MotoGP activities on January 9, has a contract with Dorna to race in MotoGP until the end of 2011. Ezpeleta told La Gazetta dello Sport that he was willing to release Kawasaki from the final two years of that agreement, providing its bike are on the 2009 grid.

"There is an agreement until 2011, which Dorna has with all the factories," Ezpeleta told the sportspaper. "It cannot just be discarded.

"I have told Kawasaki that I would not accept this contract being broken and, since they have said that the costs for this season are budgeted, I have proposed that they race in 2009. In exchange I will release them from 2010 and 2011.

"The problem with this is that Kawasaki says it only has engines built for 25% of the championship and that they don't want to develop the rest. Therefore I am searching for a structure, in France, to do this for them. The final obstacle will be to get the Japanese to meet these people and agree to this scenario."

When asked how optimistic he was of success, Ezpeleta declared "I think that it will all be resolved" then stated that Kawasaki are testing in Australia and that he expects the current team structure to remain.

"Today Olivier Jacque is testing at Eastern Creek, in Australia [Update: The test has not yet started]. The team will continue to be managed by Michael Bartholemy and it is important to safeguard the futures of John Hopkins and Marco Melandri."

Despite such optimism, Ezpeleta once again warned Kawasaki that it cannot simply walk away: "If Kawasaki will not race, I will take them to court."

Those words could also be seen as warning to any other manufacturers thinking of quitting.

Ezpeleta also added that he wants a series of cost cutting measures - such as a reduction in testing, and engines that last for two or three grand prix weekends - agreed before the start of this season and is aiming to boost grid numbers to 20 riders for 2010.

Kawasaki's apparent withdraw had reduced the 2009 MotoGP field to just 17 riders.


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Ezpeleta, Rossi, Marquez, Lorenzo, FIM MotoGP Awards, Valencia MotoGP 2016
Ezpeleta, Rossi, Marquez, Lorenzo, FIM MotoGP Awards, Valencia MotoGP 2016
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Dale - Unregistered

January 14, 2009 7:27 PM

Playing that kind of heavy hand is hardly going to win Dorna any friends. While WSBK is welcoming new teams with open arms, Dorna is bullying their teams with threats of court action ... One wonders, if staff at Kawasaki are retrenched because the team is now forced to race ... can we see those staff taking Dorna to court for compensation?

Ray Von

January 14, 2009 10:21 PM

******* Dorna, who do they think they are the mafia? If it wasn't for greedy Espelata and his gang MotoGP wouldn't be in the cash crisis it is now with teams not being able to afford to race. It was reported on the BBC that Kawasaki were spending £28.8 million / year on their MotoGP effort, if Dorna want Kawasaki to take part, they should get their fat greedy little hands in there pocket and help the teams out instead of threatening court action. I'd like to ask the question "Do Dorna know what they are doing?" first of all no motogp on europsort a really good move, giving the brit round to silverstone the most spectator friendly venue inthe UK - not. Dorna suck, see you at WSB!



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