A Test To Blow Away The Cobwebs

Team Suzuki Press Office Walled by a forest of palm trees, the Sepang International Circuit, in Selangor (Malaysia), designed by the world-renowned engineer Hermann Tilke, is the circuit that serves…
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Team Suzuki Press Office Walled by a forest of palm trees, the Sepang International Circuit, in Selangor (Malaysia), designed by the world-renowned engineer Hermann Tilke, is the circuit that serves...

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Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 Cup Riders using all of the track and more

Article by Clifford Ogle After the long break the time had finally come for the 2019 racing season to get going.  The all-bike “Day of the Champion” race day traditionally kicks off the Zwartkops racing categories, and 2019 was no different. Official practice was scheduled on the Thursday morning leading up to the weekend, where […]

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Article by Clifford Ogle

Photo credit: RacePics

After the long break the time had finally come for the 2019 racing season to get going.  The all-bike “Day of the Champion” race day traditionally kicks off the Zwartkops racing categories, and 2019 was no different.

Photo credit: Paul Blackburn

Official practice was scheduled on the Thursday morning leading up to the weekend, where a strong field of riders turned up to the circuit to test the track conditions, following the recent track resurfacing in the off-season. More importantly, the practice allowed for some much needed track time on the new Bridgestone R11 tyres, which are now the newly allocated tyres for the series.

Qualifying

Due to a few unfortunate, and unforeseen, circumstances I was a non-contender for this round and setup camp on the grandstand for the season opener. The track conditions had kicked up quite a bit of concern for the two-wheeled racers leading up to the weekend and news of a bit of oil on the circuit dropped by some of the classic cars, which raced on the Saturday, seemed to create added tension in pit lane. The series organisers were however quick to spring into action with a thorough “clean up” operation just before the ZX10 qualifying got underway.

Photo credit: RacePics

Twenty two Kawi’s lined up in pitlane ready for action, with the aim of getting as close to the starting line as possible. The field initially took their time, sussing out the track and scrubbing in their Bridgestone tyres before making the final push for the fastest lap.  Graeme van Breda was the man to watch putting his Stefanutti Stocks machine on pole position, Gareth Bezuidenhout took second place narrowly missing the fastest lap by 0.18 seconds and Michael Smit completed the front row. Jonty Collard, Jaco Gouws and Appanna Gunapathy headed up the second row ahead of seasoned ZX10 racers Teddy Brooke, Johan Le Roux and Greg Bezuidenhout. Fresh face Morne Potgieter took the final top 10 spot whilst Sifiso Themba was in the mix in 15th place and Ruan Oberholster in 20th.

Race 1

Twenty one Kawasaki ZX10R’s left pitlane making their way around the 2.4km Zwartkops circuit trying to get as much heat into their Bridgestones as possible before lining up on the grid in their allocated positions.

Photo credit: Paul Blackburn

Lights on…. Lights off…

The field absolutely roared through turn 1 at tremendous pace. Race favourite Graeme van Breda hit the front early and looked extremely aggressive ahead of the 20-strong field who jostled for position in the opening laps. Gareth Bezuidenhout got a magic start and looked to keep van Breda honest in the early stages. New comers to the series, Morne Potgieter and Gareth Jackson settled into the pace very quickly and battled hard with the likes of series regulars Apanna Gunapathy, Andre van Vollenstee and Jacques Ackerman.

Photo credit: Paul Blackburn

On lap 4 Gareth Bezuidenhout disappeared from the timing screens and was out of the race, seemed that he had picked up a technical issue which ended his race early, it was a great pity as the race was really building up to a grand stand finish. Van Breda brought his Stefanutti Stocks ZX10R comfortably home to take the race 1 win ahead of Jonty Collard in a solid 2nd place with Michael Smit completing the podium. Gunapathy took the top 5 spot with Stewie Christie taking the top ten place. Petrus Lafras Fritz just missed out on a top 15 finish but definitely won the biggest battle on track with McLachlan, Oberholster and Ian Harwood.

Race 2

Last dance of the weekend!! The all Kawasaki grid looked racey and ready for battle.  Twenty ZX10’s lined up on the grid and waited for the signal.

Photo credit: Paul Blackburn

Lights on….Lights off…

The second heat was on! Graeme van Breda led the field out of turn 4 and had already managed to pull two bike lengths on the chasing pack. 3 laps in and the race pace had really heated up as the pack had started to come to terms with the new R11 Bridgestone tyres. The pace was evident by the speed that Sifiso Themba travelled through the kitty litter and into the tyre wall at turn 4, luckily walking away without any injury.

Photo credit: Paul Blackburn

Up into turn 5, Gareth “Action” Jackson also decided to explore more of what Zwartkops had on offer by running onto the gravel. Luckily for Jackson the red flag came out for the Themba crash, which put him back on the grid in the track position the lap before. Van Breda had to do it all again after clocking out in the early stages.

Nineteen bikes back on the grid….Lights on….Lights off….

Race 2 was on……again and Van Breda had hit the front early. Up into 5 there were ZX10’s everywhere all looking for the fastest line through the turn. Van Breda cleared off again at the front leaving Collard, Smit, Gouws and Le Roux to battle each other tooth-and-nail for the final podium positions. With 2 laps left to go of the day’s final race, the red flag made yet another appearance to bring the proceedings to a halt.

Photo credit: RacePics

Stuart Russel had gone down at the exit of turn 6 in a massive high side. I was actually amazed that he managed to get up and walk after such a horrific crash. The race was classified as complete with enough laps being ridden in order for the results to be official.  Graeme van Breda took the overall win for the day after 2 convincing wins in both heats.  Jonty Collard and Michael Smit completed the podium ahead of Jaco Gous and Johan Le Roux. Unfortunately Morne Potgieter was hit with a 30 second penalty for a jump start which pushed him down to 15th place.

Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters – Overall Results

Pos. No. Class Name Sponsor Race 1 Race 2 Laps Tot. TM
1 41 B Graeme van Breda Stefanutti Stocks 10:56.5061 08:44.641 18 19:41.147
2 11 A Jonty Collard CTek Racing 11:04.7395 08:54.740 18 19:59.480
3 49 A Michael Smit 11:05.0259 08:56.393 18 20:01.419
4 43 A Jaco Gous 11:05.7137 08:57.710 18 20:03.424
5 77 A Appanna Ganapathy ART Racing 11:17.4171 09:04.716 18 20:22.133
6 82 C Andre van Vollenstee 11:20.8715 09:09.805 18 20:30.677
7 44 C Johan Le Roux Avidan Trading 11:36.043 08:59.795 18 20:35.838
8 10 B Greg Bezuidenhout 11:36.0675 09:05.140 18 20:41.208
9 65 C Stewie Christie 11:29.0299 09:12.913 18 20:41.943
10 21 A Gareth Jackson Morphine Racing 11:28.4835 09:17.583 18 20:46.067
11 25 A Morne Potgieter 11:21.5571 09:32.301 18 20:53.858
12 70 A Jacques Ackermann FG Distributors 11:28.7243 09:25.758 18 20:54.482
13 90 B Wayne Spicer Wellness Group 11:36.6011 09:19.344 18 20:55.945
14 28 C Petrus Lafras Fritz Rutpin 11:52.5237 09:30.104 18 21:22.628
15 24 B Ian Harwood TRP Distributors / Berik 11:53.0869 09:29.837 18 21:22.924
16 42 C Rodney McLachlan 11:52.5669 09:32.939 18 21:25.506
17 34 A Ruan Oberholster 11:52.8677 09:34.598 18 21:27.466
18 79 C Colin Preller 12:04.4769 09:45.045 18 21:49.522
19 83 C Stuart Russel Fuel Gas Catering 11:35.1811 08:12.342 17 19:47.523
20 63 A Sifiso Themba 11:35.4855 03:35.758 13 15:11.244
21 22 A Gareth Bezuidenhout 4:22.5489 4 04:22.549

Photo credit: Paul Blackburn

The “Green Machines” are back in action again at “The Big Z” on the 9th of March for the 2nd round of the Red Square Kawasaki Masters Cup. I have finally been able to get my hands on my very own Kawasaki and I am looking forward to making my series debut against these racing savages. Hope to see you all trackside at the next one!

A big thanks to Racepics.co.za for bringing my story to life!

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Motocard commitment to KRT extended by two more years

With over a decade of partnership between them, the Kawasaki Racing Team and Motocard have extended their sponsorship relationship for a further two years, underpinning the value that both entities already have and will enjoy in the future. Alongside the family who founded the enterprise, Motocard now has new, ambitious shareholders in the form of […]

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With over a decade of partnership between them, the Kawasaki Racing Team and Motocard have extended their sponsorship relationship for a further two years, underpinning the value that both entities already have and will enjoy in the future.

Alongside the family who founded the enterprise, Motocard now has new, ambitious shareholders in the form of the Abac group who see the partnership with KRT as fundamental to their recently announced ambitious five year growth plan.

The Motocard group, which includes both physical retail stores and a significant on-line retail presence, has a history with the Provec concern that manages Kawasaki’s official World Superbike effort stretching back to the time when the enterprise was competing in World Supersport.

Harnessing the considerable public presence of a team that has won the rider, team and manufacturer title in World Superbike for an unprecedented four years in a row is just part of the reason that Motocard CEO, Tony Batlló, has ensured the relationship has been extended:

“After more than 10 years achieving amazing success with Kawasaki and Provec, we feel part of the team. We cannot conceive of Motocard without the Kawasaki Racing Team, as would our customers. We’re excited about the new stage for Motocard, and we feel proud to build on existing strong foundations with a very professional group of people. We share the same passion and values as KRT so we’re sure both of us will do everything needed to continue succeeding in the future.”

On behalf of the Kawasaki Racing Team, Manager, Guim Roda commented:

“The Provec story would not be the same without Motocard. The company believed in the internationalisation of the brand through the Supersport World Championship first and with the opportunity of KRT link in WorldSBK afterwards.

For 2019 a new stage of expansion in Europe was opened for Motocard. The new staff that joined the Motocard project continue to believe in the importance of the Motocard, KRT, Kawasaki relationship. I want to thank Tony Batlló very much. He has just joined Motocard yet his vision and understanding of the brand ensures that we are very happy and proud to renew our association for two more years. We hope to meet our joint expectations in this new stage of the growth of Motocard. “

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Solid Start For Team Suzuki ECSTAR In Sweltering Sepang

Team Suzuki Press Office Alex Rins: 2nd – 1:59.880 (+ 0.259) Sylvain Guintoli: 22nd – 2:01.286 (+ 1.665) Joan Mir: 23rd – 2:01.432 (+ 1.811) • Alex Rins feeling strong…

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Team Suzuki Press Office Alex Rins: 2nd – 1:59.880 (+ 0.259) Sylvain Guintoli: 22nd – 2:01.286 (+ 1.665) Joan Mir: 23rd – 2:01.432 (+ 1.811) • Alex Rins feeling strong...

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Mahias and Okubo Make Testing Progress

Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Hikari Okubo and Lucas Mahias have now completed four successful days of winter testing in Europe, first at Jerez and now in Portugal, with both riders finding improvements in their settings and pace. The Portimao tests were affected by strong winds and even a short fall of rain late in the […]

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Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Hikari Okubo and Lucas Mahias have now completed four successful days of winter testing in Europe, first at Jerez and now in Portugal, with both riders finding improvements in their settings and pace.

The Portimao tests were affected by strong winds and even a short fall of rain late in the final afternoon. With all their main development and set-up plans completed the team almost called a halt to their work with two hours to go, after the first spots of rain appeared. On a quickly drying track Mahias got back into action to double check some settings.

With a personal best lap time of 1.45.689, Mahias ended up third fastest over one single lap, with Okubo’s 1’45.915 making him fourth fastest of the ten WorldSSP riders who took to the track in Portugal.

The next test sessions for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing WorldSSP team will be the final ones before the season starts for real at Phillip Island in Australia. The test days are scheduled for the 18th and 19th of February, with raceday on Sunday the 24th of February.

Hikari Okubo, stated: “I think we had a good test because I got to improve my best lap times and I understood my Kawasaki more. Our settings reached a good level and I had some more ideas about the bike. I am not in the very top lap times here so I am not so happy about that, and I need to think more and push harder in PI. But we can do this because the bike is good and my feeling with it is positive. I need one more step up, which is very important, but we can do it I think. We should be OK and I am happy to have had four days of testing.”

Lucas Mahias stated: “In general this test at Portimao was not so bad, but for sure I preferred the test in Jerez. We did not have such good weather today, with a lot of wind and it was not easy to understand the bike. The lap time is not so bad and the race simulation also. I am waiting for Phillip Island for more opportunities to test before the season starts.”

#NinjaSpirit

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