Despite rumours of interest from Konica Minolta Honda, negotiations to keep Shinya Nakano at Kawasaki for a fourth season are 'well advanced' and the team hope to make an official announcement soon.

"Shinya's contract expires at the end of this season, but negotiations to keep him at Kawasaki next year are well advanced, and we hope to be in a position where we can confirm our rider line up for the 2007 season in the very near future," a Kawasaki spokesman told Crash.net. "Randy (de Puniet's) contract has another year to run, as it was originally a two-year deal, so he will definitely ride for Kawasaki in 2007."

Nakano again qualified as the top Japanese rider at Motegi on Saturday, setting the fourth fastest time to put Team Green at the front of the second row for his and the team's home Japanese Grand Prix.

Shinya is currently eleventh in the world championship standings, 52 points and five places ahead of rookie team-mate de Puniet, and took his best ever MotoGP finish with a second place at Assen earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the factory Yamaha, Ducati and Honda MotoGP teams will all test their new-for-2007 800cc machines at Motegi on Monday, but Kawasaki - like Suzuki - is yet to confirm when its 800 will be seen on track.

"Kawasaki's 800cc machine is in the final stage of development in Japan. Track tests are scheduled for the next month, but these will take place in Japan," said the spokesman. "At this time, it is not possible to say when the Kawasaki 800cc machine will run at an open test, as we are still to confirm our winter test schedule."

 

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