Update: Aspar in MotoGP 2009
After a few uncertain weeks filled with lots of discussions since the shock announcement of Kawasaki’s potential withdrawal from the MotoGP class, Jorge Martinez seems to have a emerged from the crowd as the potential saviour of the entire class.
The head of the highly successful Aspar Team admitted that he was very interested in the project, but will not do it at any cost. A crisis meeting of Carmelo Ezpeleta with representatives of Kawasaki and the MSMA is still going on in Japan, but Martinez seems to be optimistic about the project and stated his own terms for the project.
Aspar team boss Jorge Martinez says he wants a long-term deal to run Kawasakis rather than just a short term fix to ensure a full MotoGP grid in 2009.
Kawasaki is set to pull out of MotoGP as a factory entrant, and has entered talks with Martinez with a view to the Aspar team running its ex-works bikes this season, which would keep the championship field at 19 bikes. Withdrawing from MotoGP would also leave Kawasaki liable to pay penalty costs to the series organisers.
Martinez said he was still waiting for more information from Kawasaki, but that his preference was to run a two-bike team for an initial three-year period.
“I offered my help to find a solution for Kawasaki, but up to now they haven’t come up to me with any precise proposal, including details,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I’d prefer to have two riders, but if it was to be just one for the first year, I’d accept that.
“What’s clear is that I’m not interested in a project limited to just this year: I want a programme for at least three years.”
The Aspar team came close to a deal to run a satellite Kawasaki this season, but discussions reached an impasse because the team’s Spanish sponsorship depended on them running a Spanish rider, whereas Kawasaki wanted to place Shinya Nakano at Aspar.
Martinez added that he remained upbeat about both the Kawasaki talks, and MotoGP’s future.
“How do I feel? Optimistic, for this situation and more in general too,” he said. “I think that within one or two years the motorcycling world championship will come out of this crisis stronger.”
More information about the project will follow when things are confirmed and officially announced.