Bastianelli Wins As Carrasco Keeps Points Lead

Local wild card rider Manuel Bastianelli (Prodina Ircos Team Kawasaki) swept to a narrow victory in a typically dramatic and incident packed WorldSSP300 championship race at Misano. Spanish rider Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) was unable to challenge for a podium after 13-laps today but in finishing tenth – and only 1.730 seconds from […]

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Local wild card rider Manuel Bastianelli (Prodina Ircos Team Kawasaki) swept to a narrow victory in a typically dramatic and incident packed WorldSSP300 championship race at Misano. Spanish rider Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) was unable to challenge for a podium after 13-laps today but in finishing tenth – and only 1.730 seconds from the race winning Ninja 400 – she was still in the leading group to the end.

Carrasco remains in the lead of the championship, predominantly thanks to her two race wins in Imola and Donington. Another Kawasaki championship challenger, Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) led the race on numerous occasions in Italy until a technical issue showed up and the Dutch rider entered the pits to retire, not scoring any points.

Ninja riders Bastianelli and Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) ended up 1-2 today, with just 0.036 seconds separating them. Perez was riding in his comeback race after injury.

Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) won a personal duel with his team-mate Carrasco, finishing ninth, and the first Kawasaki rider behind the two podium finishers Bastianelli and Perez.

Enzo De La Vega (GP Project Team) scored points in 12th place, leading the second group of riders, and still only just under 2.5 seconds from the race win.

Deroue’s team-mate Tom Toparis finished his Misano weekend 19th, with his fellow Australian Tom Edwards (Nutec – Benjan Kawasaki) 26th.

Walid Khan (Nutec Benjan Kawasaki) a podium finisher at the most recent round in Brno crashed out of contention today. Borja Sanchez (ETG Racing Kawasaki) also fell out at this superheated and super-tough round.

After another healthy points score, Carrasco leads the championship by 16 points, from Luca Grunwald, by 84 points to 68. Sanchez is third on 58, Deroue fifth on 55, two points ahead of Loureiro.

Two rounds remain in the championship, the next at Portimao between the 14th and the 16th of September.

Ana Carrasco, stated: “We’ve had many problems which have not allowed us to work as we wanted this weekend. To start from so far back on the grid is complicated for the first laps. I tried to overtake as many positions as soon possible and get into the front group. I think the end result could have been better if I hadn’t had a knock with Hendra on the last lap. I’m still happy, as we’re still ahead in the championship. The holidays start now and we will try to improve all aspects for the last two races of the season.”

Scott Deroue, stated: “I was leading the race today until my bike had a clutch problem and I needed to stop. Winning the World Championship is gonna be really difficult now. Thanks to my team and Kawasaki for working so hard. We don’t give up!”

Dorren Loureiro, stated: ”The race didn’t go as expected by ending in P9 after starting on the front row, but we can walk away with a big positive, and that is that we are only five points away from 3rd in the championship. Thank you to Kawasaki for all the hard work and effort this weekend and my team for all they do.”

#NinjaSpirit

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Anticipation High For Popular Misano Round

Round eight of the 2018 WorldSSP championship will witness Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Hikari Okubo and Sheridan Morais ride at their team’s home circuit in Italy, shortly before the start of the series’ long summer break. With no WorldSSP race at the most recent Laguna Seca round of the overall WorldSBK championship both Sheridan and […]

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Round eight of the 2018 WorldSSP championship will witness Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Hikari Okubo and Sheridan Morais ride at their team’s home circuit in Italy, shortly before the start of the series’ long summer break.

With no WorldSSP race at the most recent Laguna Seca round of the overall WorldSBK championship both Sheridan and Hikari are primed and ready to race, having not competed on their middleweight Ninja machines for a month.

After seven races since his move to Kawasaki the increasingly experienced Okubo is looking for his first top five finish. He has been close to the leading riders on occasion but found misfortune before the races reached the chequered flag. His best single finish of the year has been tenth, which he achieved at Imola. He qualified fifth at Donington, two rounds ago.

Riding as a replacement for the recently retired Kenan Sofuoglu, Morais has shown flashes of the form that gave him a race win in WorldSSP last season. He now looks to Misano as the place to get back to his very best, in what will be his fifth race for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team this season.

Morais is now 15th overall and Okubo 18th after seven of the 12 rounds have been completed.

A long summer break will take place after the completion of the Misano round. The season does not get underway again until round nine, at Portimao in Portugal, with raceday on the 16th of September.

Hikari Okubo, stated: “I like the track at Misano. I have had time to go back to Japan since the most recent race and relax. I also had lots of good minimoto training in Japan, to keep me sharp. I really think I can have a good race in Misano. I know the races before were so difficult. But, I am confident I can get have a good race this weekend in Italy. I have a good feeling in my spirit.”

Sheridan Morais, stated: “I am looking forward to the last round before a long summer break. I feel like we’ve only just started in some ways, so with this big break coming up, we need a strong result. I have been working hard on making that a reality. Misano is a good track for me and know it almost as well as the Italian riders.”

Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) will be back and ready to aim for his best finish of the year in Italy. Currently the Aussie star is top Kawasaki rider in the championship, in eighth place. The experienced West has been a WorldSSP race winner at Misano in the past, during the 2007 season.

Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) sits 13th overall and is top of the FIM Europe Supersport Cup standings, designed for riders who only compete in the European-based rounds of the championship. He is still the convincing ESS points leader, 13 ahead of his nearest rival.

Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) is 25th in the standings on the eve of the Misano round. Argentina’s Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) is another rider competing for an Italian based team at Misano. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) completes the regular confirmed Kawasaki line up for the eighth round.
#NinjaSpirit

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Misano The Final Round Before Summer Break

The ninth round of the WorldSBK Championship will take place at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, close to Italy’s Adriatic Coast this coming weekend. It marks the final round for KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes before the start of a nine-weekend summer break in the championship calendar. Contrasting recent fortunes follow championship […]

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The ninth round of the WorldSBK Championship will take place at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, close to Italy’s Adriatic Coast this coming weekend. It marks the final round for KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes before the start of a nine-weekend summer break in the championship calendar.

Contrasting recent fortunes follow championship leader Jonathan Rea and his team-mate Tom Sykes into the forthcoming race weekend, to be held between the 6th and 8th of July.

At the most recent championship round, at Laguna Seca in the USA, Rea won both races and extended his championship lead to 75 points, which equates to three race wins.

Rea has now won eight races this year on his Ninja ZX-10RR and has already become the all-time record holder in this category of racing. He has enjoyed the championship lead since the fourth race of the season, despite all Kawasaki riders having a lower season-starting rev limit than all of their main four-cylinder competitors, by regulation.

Having won a race at Assen already this year Sykes, the 2013 WorldSBK champion for Kawasaki, found Laguna a difficult venue in the races, finishing seventh and eighth after qualifying well. He is fourth in the championship and looks to Misano to get back to his podium best.

There have been no fewer than 50 previous individual WorldSBK races held at Misano, the first in 1991. The original circuit ran in a counter-clockwise direction, before extensive modifications in the mid-2000s brought about a change in direction and many other upgrades to meet contemporary standards.

Both KRT riders have strong records at Misano with Rea taking his first race win in WorldSBK there in 2009, and four victories in all. Sykes also has four Misano wins on his record, the most recent being in race one last year.

Kawasaki has a 45-point championship lead in the Manufacturers’ Standings after Laguna Seca.

After breaking a bone in his left foot during a crash in the USA, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) expects to be fit to race at his team’s home round at Misano. The WorldSBK rookie from Turkey is an impressive eighth overall in the points.

Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) sits in 15th position after eight rounds, Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is 16th and Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) is 18th.

With the championship going into its summer break after the Misano race weekend, the next opportunity to for KRT to ride as a unit will be at Portimao in Portugal. An official two-day test session in late August precedes the tenth round of the championship, to be held between the 14th and the 16th of September.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Misano is one of my favourite races of the season and this year we planned a holiday before the race with my family, staying on the beach with our motor home. It sets the weekend up perfectly as I feel recharged for the last race before the summer break. The circuit is pretty straightforward and has a mix of everything. Although it’s flat, it’s still a challenge to find a compromise with set up, so we will work hard on Friday to make sure we can be competitive. It’s important to strengthen our position in the championship. Our target is to keep working the way we have in the previous races and maximise our potential.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “Misano is a beautiful venue with fantastic fans. It is great just to be part of the whole atmosphere and environment. The fans do enjoy themselves! When I get there I will settle in with a nice Italian coffee and some seafood. I head there in the knowledge that we have good information to work with. The corners give it an interesting layout with a fast section that is unbelievable. A flat-out right kink, with quite a dip in the middle. You have to get the front settled on the way in. The lap times are always close at Misano so you have to get technical and find the small differences that way.”

2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 16, Wins 8, Podiums 13, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 62 (47 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 125 (83 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)

Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 16, Wins 1, Podiums 6, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 106 (105 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 45 (45 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: 118 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 368 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 78 – second overall

#NinjaSpirit

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Super Charged Dexterous

Back in 1971, when I was still very much in Bag-dad, Kawasaki set the world ablaze with the introduction of the fastest production motorcycle ever; the H2. A two-stroke (those smokey engines) with a 7 500 rpm redline, which was high for the time, and a 1:1 horsepower-to-weight ratio. It would send inexperienced riders wheelie-ing […]

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Back in 1971, when I was still very much in Bag-dad, Kawasaki set the world ablaze with the introduction of the fastest production motorcycle ever; the H2. A two-stroke (those smokey engines) with a 7 500 rpm redline, which was high for the time, and a 1:1 horsepower-to-weight ratio. It would send inexperienced riders wheelie-ing over backwards and beating their friends to every red light—but you’d also likely blow through that red light. The original H2 was nicknamed the Widowmaker for its ridiculous power and lackluster brakes and suspension. It was dangerously fast.

Forty-four years later and Kawasaki would once again stun the world, reintroducing the H2, but this time swopping the insanely powerful 2-stroke motor with that of a 1000cc supercharged powerplant.

The H2R was born – a 300hp track-only animal that would make even Chuck Norris soil himself. This, again, made the H2 the world’s fastest production motorcycle.

In 2016, Kawasaki made the supercharged Ninja H2 available to the masses. With 100 horsepower less, R300k cheaper and a license plate and mirrors, customers who were brave enough, and more importantly had the money, could experience the anger and pleasure from the supercharged litre beast.

I have been lucky enough to have tested both the H2R and H2 base models. The H2R brings a whole new meaning to the word scary, while the H2 was sublime in just about every aspect. The only problem was that it was restricted to a small customer base, not only because of its hefty price, but also its aggressive nature. Not many riders could, or wanted to handle that much power. It’s great for the odd out-ride and breakfast run sprint, but even that is a lot of work and leaves your body feeling a bit battered. However, it’s a riding experience like no other and one that every biking nut should be able to engage in. Kawasaki have now answered the cries from Customers and Dealers asking for a more refined and user-friendly version of its supercharged phenomenon. Basically, an H2 you can ride every day.

Ninja H2 SX

Kawasaki’s latest member of the Ninja H2 family is a supercharged, 200hp sportbike with a comfy passenger seat and space for panniers. The bike is a mix of crazy speed and comfort. As Kawasaki puts it: “The Ninja H2 SX is the “Supercharged Sportbike” offering the most desirable street qualities of Hyperbikes, Sportbikes and Sport Touring bikes”. It is, in short, wonderfully excessive.

It’s a sportbike with touring features, 200hp, tons of electronics and a supercharger; no other motorcycle on the market can be described this way… “It’s a cross between a hyperbike, sportbike and sport touring bike” say Kawasaki. “There’s no competition.”

There is no competition and that’s what makes it so special, apart from the supercharged motor of course. Kawasaki were very clever in using the one-of-a-kind engine in a sophisticated platform. They have in the past released some of the best sport touring bikes – the ZZR range and more recent Z1000SX. While the ZZR 1400 is still a valid option, especially here in SA where it’s loved, the Z1000SX never really took off. Journos and Customers alike loved the overall feel and comfort of the bike but were left wanting more from the engine and electronics.

The new Ninja H2 SX now replaces the Z1000SX as Kawasaki’s new sports touring option. While Kawasaki’s focus on the H2R and its de-tuned civilian counterpart H2 were very much on speed above all else, the H2 SX has been completely reworked and refined for comfort and everyday rider friendliness. That translates to ergonomics revised for a less aggressive riding position, an added rear seat to share in the fun and 58 litres of luggage-carrying capacity for extended trips. Don’t let the civilities fool you though. The supercharged 998cc inline-four engine still coughs up a titanic 200hp, supplemented with a whirl from the boost that constantly entices you for more throttle. Kawasaki sent the outraged powerhouse to anger management classes to help clam it down. The result is a much more sensible, efficient, everyday satisfying agent that is a pleasure to operate. Power a plenty no matter the rpm or gear, just twist-and-go. Acceleration is where you can really feel the advantage of the supercharger, but overall speed doesn’t feel any faster than a normally aspirated litre machine. Producing 137Nm of torque at only 9 500rpm helps deliver the power faster than anything else out there in the production superbike category. That’s 13 more than the new all-conquering Ducati Panigale V4, although I still think the 1100cc V4 Italian Stallion would achieve a faster top speed. One thing the V4 or any other superbike does not have is that supercharged whistle on deceleration, which is still very apparent and fulfilling on the H2 SX.

While attending anger management classes the H2 SX did gain a bit of weight, 18 kilos in total. Although, out on the road this actually helps improve the bikes overall stability. The chubby weight and 30mm longer wheelbase give it a much more balanced feel in all areas, without hampering the handling. It’s no racy superbike for sure, but the agility is surprisingly good considering its weight.

The standard setup is not ideal for attacking turns. The front end is soft causing the front to float a bit in the turns.
More weight is needed on the front, so I would suggest a couple of turns of pre-load to load up the front and make it more planted, which is easily done on the fully adjustable suspension.

The riding position is cozy. It’s the business class of sports tourers with its upright bars perfectly set, high screen that offers brilliant wind protection and a seat that doesn’t leave your rear end feeling like it spent a night in a Nigerian prison cell. Out on the open road is where the SX showed its true capabilities, showing off its allure like a show pony at a competition.

The SX handled the everyday commuting I did adequately. The clutch was easy to use and getting the chubby machine on and off the side stand was a lot easier than I thought. Seat height is well placed and even a standard-sized rider like myself never felt intimidated or uncomfortable. The heat from the engine was welcomed on the cold morning commutes, but not so much in the afternoon heat. Still, it’s way cooler than the Ninja H2 superbike. The SX’s engine temperature didn’t spiral once on the stop-start commute, this thanks to the massive nostrils at the front helping keep the hot-headed motor as cool as possible. They also added that aggressive styling that makes the H2 so enticing. The clutch was reasonably light and easy to use, while gear changes were better and smoother than the old school clutchless way. The gearbox was not the slickest and this brings me to my first of the two small complaints I had with the SX. Firstly, no quick-shifter standard on the SX model and secondly the same old plain-Jane analogue/digital TFT LCD dash. On a new 2018 model bike that cost R260 000 you would think a quick-shifter and colour display dash would be obvious inclusions as standard.

Sadly, they’re not. They do however come standard on the top of the range SX SE model, which costs R40k more, along with auto-blip for clutchless downshifts, launch control, heated grips, slightly bigger screen, braided hoses and very neat cornering lights built into each side of the fairing. This latter feature further illuminates the road when cornering at night.

I can’t for the life of me understand why Kawasaki would not just have a quick-shifter standard on the SX model. Not only would it add extra value to the bike, but also disguise the slightly stiff gear changes. Any modern-day motorcycle over 500cc should come standard with a quick-shifter, that’s how I see it. As for the dash, not sure what Kawasaki have against going the route all its competitors have gone. Nothing better than climbing on a new bike, turning the key on and seeing that massive colour TFT LCD digital screen light up with some funky graphics. This does not happen on the SX model, but is better on the up-specced SE model which comes with a better-looking colour dash.

Despite these two gripes the SX is still packed with loads of electronic wizardry. Everything from cruise control, to the very intelligent Kawasaki Cornering Management Function (KCMF) which oversees 3-mode traction control, wheelie control, engine brake control and Kawasaki’s Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (including pitching and corner braking control). There are three power modes delivering 50, 75 and 100 % of the engine capabilities as well as ABS.

Kawasaki claim 25% better fuel efficiency, saying it’s “on par” with the Versys 1000, which gets a claimed 15 kilometres per litre. That’s a big statement to make considering it’s a supercharged motor. Kawasaki claims more than 300 km fuel range from the 19-litre tank. Out on the open road the best I got was 15.4km per litre, riding patiently and sticking to the speed limit. That figure went up to 17km per litre when I wanted to explore more of the supercharged engines power. On the everyday magazine delivery commute, I averaged around 15.8km per litre, again riding more responsibly.

Braking was sharp and efficient with a great feel and never once faded during short or long rides. The ABS gets the job done nicely in the background without interfering too much.

The SX model is only available in what Kawasaki call “Metallic Carbon Gray/Metallic Matte Carbon Gray”, and while it sparkles exquisitely under sunlight, it doesn’t paint quite the same portrait parked in the shade. This is where it loses all its charisma and highlights the need for some extra colour. The SX SE models “Emerald Blazed Green/Metallic Diablo Black” colour scheme looks much more suited and highlights the bikes aggressive styling a bit more.

Conclusion

At the end of the day Kawasaki have made their supercharged engine more refined and open to the everyday rider. The new H2 SX is an accomplished blend of exhilarating power and performance, paired with comfort and efficiency. While it’s near perfect, you must anticipate the Ninja H2 SX within its realm of reality. It’s still a sports bike, just more upright and relaxed. The bike is a mix of crazy speed and comfort. As Kawasaki puts it: “The Ninja H2 SX is the “Supercharged Sportbike” offering the most desirable street qualities of Hyperbikes, Sportbikes and Sport Touring bikes”.
It is, in short, wonderfully excessive.

I really enjoyed my time on the SX and I must take my hat off to Kawasaki SA for making both models well priced in a market spiraling out of control. At R259 900 for the SX you get a lot of bike missing one or two little tricks and R299 900 for the complete package SE model, so I would lean more towards the SE model. Either way, you can now ride a supercharged bike that does not want to rip your arms off and have you visiting the chiropractor after every ride.

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