Japanese manufacturer Kawasaki have pulled out of MotoGP due to the economic downturn.
The team, who have competed in the event since 2003, ended a week of speculation over their future by confirming their withdrawal in a press release today.
“Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd announced today that it has decided to suspend its factory MotoGP racing activities from the 2009 season,” it read.
“In a quick-changing business environment, Kawasaki has been promptly taking countermeasures to cope with the situation.
“As the world economy is not likely to recover in a short period due to the major impact of the financial crisis, Kawasaki decided to suspend its MotoGP racing activities from 2009 season onward and reallocate management resources more efficiently.”
Kawasaki have become the latest Japanese motor-sport victim of the global credit crisis, with Honda announcing last month they were quitting Formula One and Subaru and Suzuki withdrawing from the World Rally Championship.
The release added: “Kawasaki will continue racing activities using mass-produced motorcycles as well as supporting general race-oriented customers.
“Mr Yoshio Kawamura, the managing director of Kawasaki Motors Racing BV, deeply appreciates the contribution and the dedication brought by staff members of the MotoGP team.”