As the title stated, Kawasaki has officially pulled out of the 2009 MotoGP season. You know the economy is tough when a factory team has to remove itself from the top of the motorcycle racing class.

MotoGP is centered around prototype racing. The structure helps companies market their name and show what the factory was able to build. Unfortunately Kawasaki has struggled to contend with the Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, and Suzuki teams over the past few years. That still doesn’t mean there was not a major fan base built around Kawasaki. The team will surely be missed.

There is no word yet on Melandri or Hopper’s future. Without them, that leaves only 17 bikes to contend with. Hopefully they will find a spot somewhere this season. Best of luck to both of them.

A full transcript of Kawasaki’s statement can be found here.