With the new season rapidly approaching Kawasaki firmly finalise their plans for world championship success in 2009.
After enjoying a very successful end to the 2008 racing year â€“ with Kawasaki riders dominating the Motocross of Nations at Donington Park â€“ Kawasaki are now making plans and looking forward to what promises to be an even more lucrative season results-wise in 2009.
With a certain amount of team restructuring having to go ahead as Kawasakiâ€™s flagship MX1 MXGP team â€“ Kawasaki Racing Team â€“ changed ownership and the previous factory MX2 effort Molson Kawasaki ceased to continue racing activities, Kawasakiâ€™s European Race Planning Manager Steve Guttridge was pleased to be finally able to announce the official structure for 2009.
â€œWith the certain finalisation of the JDG Team at the end of this season we realised that we would have a lot to plan for during 2008,â€ said Steve. â€œSince 2007 KME and KHI have jointly decided on how to proceed in 2009 for the MX1 Factory team and how it could operate within a newly formed Kawasaki Racing Team structure.
â€œThe plans that we have put in place for KRT so far we are very happy with, working with staff and riders that were already within the Kawasaki family for a long time means a lot to us. By putting these likeminded and competitive people together â€“ within the proven JDG-KRT structure in Holland â€“ will allow us to start the new season very strongly, having already made a lot of joint testing and general work within the new team environment with Seb Pourcel on the all new Fuel injection KX450-SR Factory machine.
â€œUnfortunately what we definitely had not planned for was the shock announcement in June that our Factory supported MX2 team â€“ Molson Kawasaki â€“ would stop their operation at the end of the 2008 season. Obviously we were very disappointed to see a team like Molson stop racing but luckily we are fortunate enough to already have two top French teams that specialise in racing our KX250F at the highest levels and they will enter the new season with both MX1 and MX2 riders for KME.
â€œTeam CLS and Bud Racing will thus receive upgraded support packages for 2009 with an overall aim of giving them and their talented riders the chance to win MXGPs next season for Kawasaki.â€
Unsurprisingly itâ€™s Sebastien Pourcel who will spearhead Kawasaki Motors Europeâ€™s MX1 world championship effort on the all-new Fuel Injection 2009 KX450F-SR that he successfully powered to class victory at the MXoN. Sebastien will spend the winter testing and training hard in both Japan and the United States of America to ensure he starts the new season as a real contender to take MX1 title honours. The 23-year-old Frenchman will be joined on the Kawasaki Racing Team by another 23-year-old South African racer Gareth Swanepoel who will make his debut in the premier class after a successful few years spent in the MX2 division with Molson Kawasaki. Womenâ€™s World Champion Livia Lancelot will also wear KRT colours in 2009 as she looks to defend her world title on a KX250F.
In the MX2 class Kawasakiâ€™s racing efforts will be headed by the satellite team CLS Kawasaki. The CLS team will consist of 2008 French MX2 Champion and genuine world championship contender for â€™09 Steven Frossard, European MX2 vice-champion Loic Larrieu and Gregory Aranda who will continue to run in the MX1 division as he did for the final part of the 2008 season.
Former GP winner David Vuillemin makes a return to MX1 GP competition in 2009 with Kawasaki after spending the last eight seasons racing motocross and supercross in America. The 31-year-old Frenchman will be joined at the Bud Racing team by former European MX2 Champion Gautier Paulin who will be representing the French-based Kawasaki team in the MX2 class next year.
To keep up to speed with the official Kawasaki MXGP teams stay tuned in at www.kawasaki-racingteam.eu.