With still no news about Kawasaki's withdrawal from MotoGP coming out of Japan, rumor feeding frenzy continues. The latest, and perhaps least likely, rumor is that John Hopkins has been approached by Kawasaki USA to take the place of Jamie Hacking aboard the Kawasaki Superbike entry in AMA.
The rumor, published by Italian site GPOne.com, is that Hacking will be pushed aside because his salary demands were too high. With the Kawasaki Superbike team having Monster Energy as a title sponsor, and Hopkins being so closely linked to Monster, the move would seem to be an obvious one.
Yet there are good reasons to doubt this speculation. Firstly, and most obviously, is that if Hacking is being dropped because he wanted too much money, how will Kawasaki USA justify the 4 million dollars which Hopper's salary is believed to be? And secondly, though Kawasaki has a title sponsor, bikes and riders, they have still to confirm that they will be competing in the AMA Superbike series next year. Kawasaki, along with Honda and Suzuki, were the most vociferous opponents of the rule changes and class reorganization proposed by the DMG, who bought the rights to the American domestic series. Kawasaki was also a very prominent absentee at the recent Daytona tire test, traditionally the kick-off to the AMA pre-season.
The MSMA is scheduled to meet with Dorna on Wednesday in Japan. After that meeting, the situation around Kawasaki is likely be clarified, and some of this speculation can be consigned to the circular storage facility, where it belongs.