Although he still remains focussed on completing the 2008 campaign with current employees Ducati Marlboro, former 250cc World Champion Marco Melandri has revealed that he is to join Kawasaki at the end of this season.
Following his move to the Ducati factory
team from satellite outfit Honda Gresini last winter Melandri has experienced an abrupt downturn in form and it was confirmed last month that he would not stay with the Italian manufacturers beyond 2008.
Since then Melandri has been in discussions with other teams and has made his mind up that Kawasaki is the right move.
Speaking on the second and final day of the post-Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske republiky test on Tuesday Melandri commented, “I hope to get good results in the last six races of 2008 and after that I am moving to another team. I will ride for Kawasaki next year so it´s a big change for me.”
“For the time being I want to think about this season but it will be a big challenge next year. I will keep working hard though and I am quite confident.”
Explaining why he had chosen Kawasaki in particular he added, “(John) Hopkins is a very good rider and maybe he needs a stronger team-mate to be a little bit more motivated. Maybe I also need this kind of company to be motivated a little bit more because I really want to work closely together with a team-mate, so it will be a good experience anyway.”
Commenting on the possibility of a return to Honda Gresini, a rumour that had circulated in the MotoGP paddock, Melandri also said, “Yes it would have been a very nice option to go back to Fausto (Gresini). I had a very good time with him and he has always helped me a lot. Also this year we have been talking together, but for me, I have been looking at Kawasaki and they always seem very good. The engineers and the people give me a good feeling just to talk to them, so that is what I want to do.”