Marco Melandri has revealed his surprise at being announced by Kawasaki as the lone rider for its new 'scaled down' MotoGP entry in 2009.

A Kawasaki statement released on Thursday confirmed that, after negotiations with Dorna and 'other involved parties', its planned MotoGP withdraw has been replaced by 'a new one-rider Team [which] will participate in the 2009 MotoGP Championship... equipped with Kawasaki motorcycles and supporting materials.'

Both Melandri and John Hopkins had contracts with the previous Kawasaki Racing Team for the 2009 MotoGP season, but the release was clear: 'Rider for the new MotoGP team will be the Italian Marco Melandri.'

However, Melandri claims he has not yet officially agreed to such a project and is waiting to see how the new 2009 ZX-RR performs during the forthcoming Qatar test, which starts on Sunday.

"The announcement was a surprise for me too!" Melandri told "I knew they were looking for a new team name [rumoured to be 'Hayate'] but that was all. The Japanese have not contacted me yet.

"I'm going to the Qatar test to understand the level of the new machine with respect to the competition and then we can discuss everything... The new bike is said to be a radical change compared to the 2008 bike so I am curious to experience it myself."



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