Podium for Clement Desalle in Spain

Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team reinforced his third place in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship with his second podium in the three rounds of the series run to date. The Belgian turned round a disappointing performance in qualification at the Red Sand facility one hundred kilometres north of the Spanish […]

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Clement Desalle of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team reinforced his third place in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship with his second podium in the three rounds of the series run to date.

The Belgian turned round a disappointing performance in qualification at the Red Sand facility one hundred kilometres north of the Spanish Mediterranean port of Valencia in a confidence-building performance as he raced in the leading group in both point-scoring races. Rider and team found an excellent solution on the set-up for the starts overnight and he was able to start fourth before quickly taking over third in race one, holding it until an intense mid-race challenge from the series points leader cost him one place in the later stages of the race. Despite not starting quite so well in race two he was quickly able to push forward to third place again and held the position with confidence until a late challenge from the series leader again saw him take the chequered flag in fourth position. This was sufficient to claim third overall on the day and strengthen his third place in the series standings.

KRT teammate Julien Lieber also made his best performance to date in his rookie season in the MXGP class, racing to seventh overall. His first moto ride was particularly impressive as the twenty-three year old put in two strong passes late in the race to finish fifth and he again rode with great confidence in race two to advance from an initial fourteenth after an incident with another rider to take the chequered flag ninth. The two strong performance also sees him move into the series top ten.

Clement Desalle: “It’s positive to get this podium, as yesterday the feeling was not so good. We changed our strategy for today and that helped me a lot, especially for the starts; if you don’t get a good start it’s difficult to get a good result as the class is really competitive. I’m happy as I got a good start in race one and I was fighting all race to finish in fourth place; my second start was not quite so good but I had a good feeling and made many strong passes during the first two laps to come back to third. I again finished fourth; I had a strong battle with Febvre for most of the race but he couldn’t pass me and it’s good to have a second podium since the beginning of the season. Now we will continue to work hard; third is good but my goal is to win.”

Julien Lieber: “It was a good weekend for me, even if my second race wasn’t as good as the first one as another rider pushed me out of the track during the first lap. I crashed and had to recover from fourteenth to ninth but I again had a great feeling on the bike. My first race was really good; I was seventh for most of the race but in the last few laps I passed two riders to finish fifth, my best result since the beginning of the season. It’s great to finish both races in the top ten, I must say that today I had a really good feeling with the track after we worked successfully with the team to find bike settings which suit me even better.”

Maxime Desprey and Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki Racing each scored nine world championship points in Spain and now hold seventeenth and eighteenth placings in the series.

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Rea Fights Back To Lead The Championship

Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured a strong finish after a challenging second race in hot conditions at the Chang International Circuit, following up his opening day win with a battling fourth place despite experiencing issues under braking. Tom Sykes (KRT) had a technical issue with the front end of his machine and dropped through the field […]

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Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured a strong finish after a challenging second race in hot conditions at the Chang International Circuit, following up his opening day win with a battling fourth place despite experiencing issues under braking. Tom Sykes (KRT) had a technical issue with the front end of his machine and dropped through the field from his front row starting position to record a rare no-score.

Starting from the third row today, under the reverse grid rules first brought into play last season, race one winner Rea had to fight hard from the start. He occasionally ran on or lost track position as he experienced braking issues at what was already the most challenging circuit on the calendar in this regard.

Summoning up all his determination and skills, Rea managed to maintain a high level of pace and even overtake a rider in the final three laps to score fourth place.

Sykes felt a problem with his front end early in the race and went from third position on the grid to ninth in a single lap, then pulling out after completing seven laps rather than risk a potential crash.

Even being limited in his ambitions today, Rea leaves the Chang International Circuit with a two point championship lead after four races. Jonathan has 69 points, with former championship leader Marco Melandri on 67. Sykes’ race two misfortune leaves him seventh in the points with 43, but with 11 rounds and 22 races left in the championship chase.

The next round will take place in Spain, at the Motorland Aragon circuit, between 13th and 15th April.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I think my problem today must have been a similar problem to Tom yesterday. It is what it is. After a very difficult Phillip Island we can go away from here with a first and a fourth, and leading the championship, so it was not a disaster. I am frustrated but with a smile on my face because at least the bike was good and this is the worst track for brakes. Everyone is pushing really hard so when the going gets tough the tough get going. I felt like today I could have fought for the win again, but it is what it is.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “From the first laps in free practice at Buriram, I felt on form, just like I was in Phillip Island. After Superpole I felt ready for the races. I think at that stage the overall potential of the bike was capable of fighting for the win. But then, what an absolute disaster, through no fault of my own. I have got to try and pick up now for the next race at Motorland Aragon.”

2018 KRT Rider Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 4, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 55 (40 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 114 (72 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 15 (11 for Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 4, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 33 (33 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 101 (100 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 43 (43 for Kawasaki)

5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 110 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 351 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 75 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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Kawasaki confirms official Suzuka 8hr rider line up

Keen to capture success in one of the world’s most prestigious races, Kawasaki has unveiled a formidable rider line up for the motorcycle endurance event that takes place at the famous 5.8km long Suzuka circuit in Japan across the weekend of 28 and 29 July. With current world superbike champion, Jonathan Rea as one member […]

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Keen to capture success in one of the world’s most prestigious races, Kawasaki has unveiled a formidable rider line up for the motorcycle endurance event that takes place at the famous 5.8km long Suzuka circuit in Japan across the weekend of 28 and 29 July.

With current world superbike champion, Jonathan Rea as one member of an impressive three rider team, the other two spaces are filled by British Superbike championship star, Leon Haslam with rising Asian star Kazuma Watanabe as the final squad member.

As the official Kawasaki Team Green entry, the riders have an enviable track-record in this and other racing classes including three world superbike titles and one Suzuka 8hr win for Rea, two Suzuka 8hr wins and world superbike race wins for Haslam and the Japanese JSB1000 experience for Watanabe.

Aboard the highly regarded Ninja ZX-10RR, the bid for success is underpinned by many laps of testing in preparation for an event which is traditionally very demanding of rider and machine with a high attrition rate as Rea explains.

“Suzuka is the biggest test for man and machine. It’s like an emotional roller coaster during the race and I am very excited to go back this season,” commented the three time world superbike champion.

For Haslam – and his years of Suzuka experience, the race is of great significance commenting that. “Suzuka is very challenging circuit and it really suits the characteristics of the bike itself. Being part of Team Green and riding the ZX-10RR is a dream come true.

Talented Japanese rider Watanabe is understandably optimistic for Suzuka saying. “For this year’s Suzuka 8hr we are fielding our strongest team yet. We will be pushing for the win so be sure to cheer for Team Green”
A win at Suzuka, on their “home soil” has a special significance for Japanese manufacturers and can also act as a springboard for other marketing activities according to the head of the motorcycle marketing department at Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Eiko Kirino.

“There is worldwide interest in the Suzuka 8hr and to achieve success is highly newsworthy across Asia in particular. We wish Kawasaki Team Green well and hope that Jonathan, Leon and Kazuki reach the top step of the podium in July”.

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Rea Scores First Kawasaki Win Of 2018

KRT rider Jonathan Rea followed up on his Superpole qualifying success today with his first race win of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship season, securing a margin of victory of 1.5 seconds after 20 intense laps. Tom Sykes (KRT) was in a leading position early in the race but finished sixth today, after experiencing issues under […]

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KRT rider Jonathan Rea followed up on his Superpole qualifying success today with his first race win of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship season, securing a margin of victory of 1.5 seconds after 20 intense laps. Tom Sykes (KRT) was in a leading position early in the race but finished sixth today, after experiencing issues under braking.

After Rea had qualified on pole with a new track best earlier today, and Sykes was just 0.003 seconds behind in second place on the grid, the two KRT riders battled it out in the early laps. Sykes was first over the line in the first two laps, then Rea took a lead that was not to be threatened after his team-mate began to drop back slowly.

After some very close qualifying sessions, and knowing that many riders expected to have strong race pace today, Rea had initially intended to stay part of the main group to see where his main competition would come from. Seeing Sykes drop back after a few laps Rea pushed on out front and took a comfortable lead, surviving one moment of tension when he ran wide. He recovered his pace to win by 1.550 seconds, from independent rider, Xavi Fores. This was Jonathan’s 40th race win in WorldSBK for Kawasaki, and the first since new regulations came in to limit Kawasaki to a lower maximum rev ceiling than any of their four-cylinder rivals.

Sykes battled hard to maintain his pace and race position but found it difficult to defend his line, as other riders were able to outbrake him into the Chang International Circuit’s many slower corners. Tom was still only seven seconds from the race win, even if he had to give up fifth place just two laps from the end.

In the championship, after three races, Rea is second overall on 56 points, with Sykes fourth on 43.

Race two at Chang on Sunday 25th March will offer up another opportunity for Rea and Sykes to go for maximum points, and will again start at 16.00 local time in Thailand.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “There was a little bit of joy and relief in winning today. In Phillip Island, at the first round, mentally I was a little bit battered after I experienced sickness, injury and a really tough race one. So it was relief and joy to win today. My strategy was to sit in the group because I could see how many people would be fast, but I saw that Tom was just struggling a little bit, and I threw the plan out of the window. I led by myself, setting my own rhythm. That was really difficult, especially in the heat, with no reference out in front. The lap times stayed very consistent and that was enough to maintain the gap. I made a huge mistake in T3 at one point and lost a lot of my lead, so I had to work again. I put my head down for a few laps and managed things from there. I am excited now for tomorrow.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “I just had an issue with the braking system and after about five or six laps I ran out of adjustment. I could not stop the bike as I wanted to and then get the best out of the corners. And there are a lot of them here. I am disappointed because we have been running strongly all weekend but when we got to the race we had this issue. I am disappointed for that and for not getting the result we should have. Tomorrow, I expect we will not have this problem so we should be a lot stronger.”

2018 KRT Rider Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 3, Wins 1, Podiums 2, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 55 (40 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 114 (72 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 15 (11 for Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 3, Wins 0, Podiums 1, Superpoles 1
Career Race Wins: 33 (33 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 101 (100 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 43 (43 for Kawasaki)

5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 110 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 351 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 75 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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Sofuoglu To Miss The Thai WorldSSP Round

Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will sit out of the FIM Supersport World Championship race at Chang International Circuit in Thailand this weekend. Following a further medical examination in Turkey, after the heavy crash during FP3 during the opening round in Australia, doctors discovered that the rider is still suffering damage in the same pelvic […]

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Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will sit out of the FIM Supersport World Championship race at Chang International Circuit in Thailand this weekend. Following a further medical examination in Turkey, after the heavy crash during FP3 during the opening round in Australia, doctors discovered that the rider is still suffering damage in the same pelvic area he injured at Magny Cours last year.

The tough Turkish rider decided to attempt to race in the final 2017 round in Qatar – less than a month after a crash in France that would normally require a 12-week recovery time. Kenan heroically raced to a podium finish and collected the FIM Silver championship medal for his and the team’s collective efforts.

The earlier than expected return to action last season affected the Turkish rider’s overall recovery. After suffering a 250 km/h crash at Phillip Island it has brought about a fragility of his bones in the previously fractured pelvic area. He will therefore require more time to fully recover and completely overcome the ultimate consequences of his Magny Cours accident.

The very difficult decision has been taken that he will not race in Thailand but Azlan Shah will be his replacement on board the Kawasaki Puccetti racing machine during the second round of the 2018 season.

The 33-year-old Malaysian rider was crowned Asia Road Racing Champion in 2013. He was then a Moto2 rider in 2014 and 2015 at Idemitsu Team Asia. Shah also took part to the Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance in 2017 alongside Watanabe and Haslam, where they finished second. He is currently riding in the Supersport 600 Asia Road Racing Championship with Kawasaki.

His new team-mate Hikari Okubo aims for a good result at the Thai venue this weekend, after ending up thirteenth at Phillip Island during the opening round of the season. Kawasaki Puccetti Racing’s Japanese rider expects a better performance at Buriram, as he was able to score his best result last year after ending the race in sixth position.

Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “After the crash in Australia I started to feel pain in the same place where I got injured in Magny Cours. I thought it would improve but as time went by I kept feeling the pain. I had further examinations and the doctors found out that my hip still has a crack in it. If I crash once again it could get worse, leaving me with consequences in the future. Last year I recovered for less than a month to ride in Qatar when I was meant to sit things out for 12 weeks. Because of that my bones didn’t heal perfectly. After the Phillip Island crash I need more time to allow my body to fully recover.”

Hikari Okubo, stated: “After Australian race we found out new things that we want to develop to improve our performance. Still I need to change my riding still to take full advantage of the power of my Kawasaki. During this month I trained a lot and so I am confident ahead of the Thai Round. Last year I made here my best race result ending the race in sixth position, so I am full of expectation for this weekend.”

Azlan Shah, stated: “I feel very happy about this opportunity. It feels like a dream come true to be racing with this team and in WorldSSP. I have to thank the team very much for accepting me for this ride and I will try to finish at the top. Thank you Kawasaki family.”

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