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“Our Kawasaki WorldSBK base bike is from 2011…”

Kawasaki Racing Team Principal Guim Roda has put the manufacturer’s current predicaments into perspective by pointing out that the base of its current WorldSBK spec Kawasaki ZX-10RR machine can trace its roots back to 2011.

The Japanese firm established itself as the dominant force of WorldSBK over the past decade, thanks primarily to its lead rider Jonathan Rea, who signed from Honda in 2015 and went on to win six consecutive titles.

Even so, while the Ulsterman’s particular skills have indeed been integral to KRT’s successful WorldSBK project, it was also made possible by its policy of applying incremental developments around a base bike that is fundamentally the same as the machine it introduced to the series back in 2011.


However, despite the introduction of the race-bred ZX-10RR (replacing the ZX-10R) in 2017 and another update in 2020 that for the WorldSBK-spec machine was mostly cosmetic, Roda admits the model is fundamentally old versus rivals like the updated 2023-spec Ducati Panigale V4 R and Honda CBR1000RR-R.

It means KRT, which has endured a troubling start to the 2023 WorldSBK season, is under pressure to get the ZX-10R working perfectly to remain competitive.

“With the way the rules are done now and our base bike is from 2011 with some improvements over the years," Roda told the WorldSBK website.

“We always need to maximise our best, take the maximum profit from all details and when all those details are not properly aligned, we suffer a bit more. We need to pay a lot of attention to not leave anything missing and do our best." 

Is a new Kawasaki ZX-10RR WorldSBK on the way?

Yes… eventually.

It is credit to both Kawasaki and Provec Racing that the ZX-10RR has sustained such a remarkable level of competitiveness since 2011.

Having effectively taken its WorldSBK project in-house by quitting MotoGP in 2008 and partnering with Provec in 2012, Kawasaki went from minnows 15 years ago to winning seven titles up to 2020. In the 257 WorldSBK races to take place since 2015, a Kawasaki bike has won 118 of them.

Part of this remarkable record is down to Kawasaki retaining such a solid, well-proven base from which to keep improving, but 12 years on it has now reached a phase of arguably diminishing returns against much newer rivals with room to grow.

As such, there is only Provec Racing itself can do now, shifting the focus back to Kawasaki to bring something different to the battle.


Introducing a new base model into such a tight championship is no easy task, as demonstrated by Honda and BMW with its respective latest generation CBR1000RR-R Fireblade and S1000RR/M1000RR. It took several years of constant honing for Yamaha to get the best from the R1 too.

Admittedly, Ducati struck gold with the latest Panigale V4 R, but the firm has had to skirt the spirit of the regulations to do so, developing the R as a race bike and working backwards to make it road-legal in order to meet homologation. It even resized the V4 engine to ensure that it did.

But even this was done primarily so Ducati didn’t experience the same long development process to make the 1199 Panigale a race-winner after it flopped on launch in 2013.

However, time waits for no manufacturer and it is believed Kawasaki is busily working on an entirely new ZX-10R/RR back in Japan, while Yamaha is also expected to introduce a new R1 in the next 12-24 months.

In the meantime, KRT will keep tweaking its ZX-10RR, but - on the evidence of the opening two rounds - the arrival of a new base Kawasaki can’t come soon enough.

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