Japanese giants Kawasaki will be returning to the premier class of MotoGP in 2002 if development of their new machine goes to plan, the official MotoGP website has reported. The team has not competed in the top class of Grand Prix racing for twenty years, but intend on coming back and showing the world they still have what it takes to win at the top level.

The company were expected to make their debut at the beginning of 2003, but progress has been so good that they intend on running the bikes towards the end of this year. The four-stroke prototype will compete in certain rounds of the All-Japan Road-Racing Championships and more importantly at specific events in the 2002 MotoGP World Championship calendar.

Entrance in these events however will be purely for development purposes. By running the bikes in race conditions, much more relevant information can be gathered than through standard test sessions. The official Kawasaki test rider for this project will be Akira Yanagawa, who rode for the team in World Superbikes last year.

It is great news for fans and the competition that Kawasaki will be competing this year, but both will have to wait to see the famous lime green bikes back on track. Kawasaki have not yet announced which races they will attend and have said it will depend on the development made throughout the year.

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