The Third Kawasaki: Back On Again, Without Aspar

Just when we thought the soap opera over the third Kawasaki was finished, after Jorge Martinez and Kawasaki agreed to drop the project over the choice of riders, rumors are emerging that the project is back from the dead. The Aspar project was killed off officially at Sepang, after Aspar's Spanish sponsors insisted on a Spanish rider, while Kawasaki demanded that Shinya Nakano be given the ride.

Martinez faced a choice of either a rider but no money, or money but no bike. With Kawasaki demanding 3 million euros for a factory machine, Martinez decided that he simply could not afford to run the team Kawasaki wanted without financial support from the factory as well.

Kawasaki, however, appear to have warmed to the idea of having a third bike on the grid. Recognizing that they are in a very deep hole with the current iteration of the ZX-RR Ninja, a bike recently slated by Ant West in an interview with the Italian magazine Motosprint, the factory were pushing hard to have Shinya Nakano join the team to speed development along. But once Aspar pulled out, they were left empty-handed.

Now, rumors are emerging from Italy that Kawasaki have changed tack. According to the website, unnamed sources supplying the factory team have received orders for extra parts, sufficient to field a third factory bike, the site concludes. No details are known about who would run the team, but with Aspar reportedly talking to Suzuki again for 2010, the factory Kawasaki Racing team could well include a third bike in their program, run from a separate garage and without the Monster Energy branding.

With Kawasaki calling the shots, Shinya Nakano would be back in the frame for the ride and helping develop the bike. That would leave just the delicate matter of funding. With Carmelo Ezpeleta keen to see more bikes on the grid, Dorna could well stump up extra cash to help run the team, much as they do with other teams.

So far, this is all very much rumor and hearsay, based on signals from a parts supplier that are at best open to multiple interpretation. But putting the pieces together, a logical pattern seems to appear. Though with the project being killed and resuscitated so many times in the past few months, one has to wonder if that pattern isn't in the shape of Dr. Frankenstein's creature.

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