The rumblings continue over Jorge Aspar Martinez' MotoGP project, to field a third Kawasaki for the 2009 season. Although the deal for the bike is already done, arguments are still going on between Aspar and Kawasaki over who is to ride for the team.
Martinez has already made clear that his sponsors want to see a Spanish rider on the bike, and he underlined this point again this week in an interview with the Spanish press, saying bluntly "Our sponsor will only accept a non-Spanish rider if they are a proven winner."
Without sponsors, entry into MotoGP is difficult. "The costs of running in MotoGP are high, " Martinez said. "Without doubt, we will need Spanish sponsors, and their priority is having a Spanish rider."
Without Spanish sponsors, the team will need Kawasaki to make a considerable contribution towards funding the team. "If (the rider) is Nakano, the project can still go ahead if Japan can pay around 50%. They insist that they would really like to see him as a rider, and we are insisting that if the rider is to be Nakano, they will have to pay."
In an effort to change the Japanese factory's mind, Martinez has been emphasizing the potential of his rider of choice, Alex Debon. Debon has already shown his skills at developing a bike by helping develop this year's Aprilia RSA 250, and winning two races this year, and Martinez believes Debon can bring a lot to the factory. "One of the things I have tried to convince the Japanese of is that Debon could help them a lot. The other two riders, Marco Melandri and John Hopkins, are very fast, but in terms of providing technical help, they fall a long way short of Debon."
Though the project still looks certain to go ahead, the argument about the rider for the third Kawasaki ZXRR - and indirectly, about the funding of the project - look set to continue.