Friday, January 09, 2009

Kawasaki Hokey Cokey

Kawasaki have finally pulled their Green Team out. Of MotoGP, that is.

Thanks to their riders John Hopkins and Ant West, last year Kawasaki's MotoGP team were known as "Team Dude". Considering their results, they should've been known as "Team Dude, We Suck!" Faced with a credit crunch, the Kawasaki hierarchy drank a wee Sake and decided with heavy hearts that Kawasaki Heavy Industries couldn't keep up such a heavy investment in MotoGP.

This reads a lot like Honda's pullout from Boremula One. A large company, participating in a sport they don't really care about, spending lots of money for no return, with slow machinery piloted by a has-been and a never-quite-was. When the board of directors are looking for a large waste of money that can be canned without anyone really giving a monkey's, the race team are at the top of the list.

Do the non Kawasaki riding fans of MotoGP care? Only if they're Hopper or Melandri fans. People will support struggling teams if they're battling the odds, like Team KR did. When it's a massive Japanese company getting terrible results there's no excuse. Kawasaki's MotoGP team never really impressed anyone, and with a full factory squad simply making up the numbers, they were losing a lot of face. The only option left is to ritually disembowel the team.

So, will Aspar be running the awful green bikes next year? Frankly, who cares? There will be no money for proper development, so the bikes won't get any faster. The Honda satellite teams will be running bikes the same spec as Pedrosa had late-ish last year. In other words, much better than the Kwaks. Aspar wants his foot in the door of MotoGP, and is prepared to run terrible bikes to make up the numbers for a season or two if need be (he has top-spec machinery in the junior classes to keep his pecker up.)

It's hard to shed any tears for Kawasaki. Their MotoGP project was always half-baked, showing a flash of brilliance in 2007 then blowing it. If King Kenny Roberts can be unceremoniously booted out of the sport, largely thanks to idiotic rule changes pricing them out of the market, then who the hell are Team Green in comparison?

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