MotoGP Responsible for Melandri's Future Says Manager

With Kawasaki close to announcing their decision to withdraw from the MotoGP later this week, Marco Melandri and John Hopkins are already looking for new racing seats in 2009. The former has joined the Japanese manufacturer shortly after the 2009 season, but is now looking at the possibility of sitting the year off due to Kawasaki's decision.

However, Melandri's manager Alberto Vergani has insisted that it would be MotoGP's loss should the Italian fail to secure a racing spot in the upcoming year. Vergani urged the championship officials – whose economic interests are represented by promoter Dorna – to find a solution for his rider, former world champion in the 250cc class and race winner in the MotoGP, to make the grid in 2009.

“We can't do anything but wait. Either someone calls us and tells us that there's a bike for us, or we can't race. But if you think that Pedrosa has won six Grands Prix in his career and Marco five, then it's obvious that MotoGP can't do without someone like Melandri. However, if Dorna is not interested in having strong riders taking part in the races, then it's another matter. Now it's up to Dorna to make a move,” Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport quoted Vergani as saying.

Shortly after the news that Kawasaki is to quit the sport in 2009, rumors emerged that Melandri might return to the team that he competed for before the Ducati disaster, Gresini Honda. However, team owner Fausto Gresini denied that such an offer was still on the table for Melandri.

“Marco and his manager made their decision in Brno when they refused my offer. I'm not a salesman,” said Gresini, in an interview for Gazzetta dello Sport.

Melandri switched to Kawasaki at the end of 2008 after a disastrous season with Ducati. The Italian failed to make the podium throughout the last season and ended his 2008 campaign in 17th place, the lowest ranking in his MotoGP career.
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