Rea Takes Two More Misano Podiums

After two final day Misano WorldSBK races Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured another two third places to maintain his leading position in the championship. Alex Lowes took his KRT Ninja ZX-10RR to fifth and then sixth at Misano, as he remains in fourth place overall. In very hot conditions on the Adriatic coast of Italy Jonathan […]

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After two final day Misano WorldSBK races Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured another two third places to maintain his leading position in the championship. Alex Lowes took his KRT Ninja ZX-10RR to fifth and then sixth at Misano, as he remains in fourth place overall.

In very hot conditions on the Adriatic coast of Italy Jonathan Rea put in two more fighting podium performances to give him nine top three rides in nine attempts so far this season.

In the ten-lap Tissot Superpole race Rea once again took a third place finish, having been third on day one, and it was a repeat performance from Lowes as well – as he finished fifth in the Superpole Race, just as he had done in Race One on Saturday.

In the final 21-lap WorldSBK race at the 4.226km long circuit Rea was in contention in the early laps and finished in third place yet again, having opted for a different front tyre choice to try and challenge for the race win. His latest podium result sees him sit 20 points ahead of Race Two winner Toprak Razgatlioglu in the overall championship table.

Lowes was looking on course for another fifth place finish in Race Two but he was overhauled in the final laps and was finally ranked sixth, remaining fourth overall in the championship standings.

In the points table Rea has 149, Razgatlioglu 129, Scott Redding 104 and Lowes 88.

The WorldSBK riders and teams will now take part in the fourth round of the championship at Donington Park in the UK, between 2-4 July.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “In the second race I went with the ‘C’ rear tyre, the harder option, that I used in Estoril. With the temperature going up on the shoulder of the tyre I was missing a little bit of stability. Then from there I sacrificed a little bit of edge grip. I knew in the beginning I was maybe going to also sacrifice a little bit of turning but as the race went on I felt like I could still keep my brake performance, which I could. I could be in there and fighting to be there, but Toprak had a great rhythm. I was there or thereabouts, fighting like hell. I can’t even remember the short race! I was there at the front for three or four laps but after the warning of a front end slide yesterday I just had to accept my position. Congratulations to Toprak and Michael they had awesome races. I went all-in in Race Two and had some warning but was able to back-it off a little bit and consolidate a podium.”

Alex Lowes, stated: “This weekend we struggled in the hotter conditions to really find the feeling we wanted. In the Superpole Race I felt a little bit better so we made a change for the second race, with the balance of the bike a bit more forward. I thought that after this morning’s experience that was going to be better. But it looks like when the track temperature arrived above 50°C I was really struggling to carry corner speed after maybe six or seven laps. It was a shame because after 12 or 13 laps I could see Garrett Gerloff catching me and I had no chance to battle with him. Misano, in these hot sunny conditions, is a special place. I feel a lot better prepared now for other tracks if we have hot temperatures, as we have more experience on the Kawasaki.”

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) retired from the Misano Superpole race after falling but composed himself well to finish 11th in Race Two. He is 13th overall with 22 points. Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki Isaac Vinales was 15th and 17th today remains 19th overall. Samuele Cavalieri (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 17th and then 19th today. Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 18th and 20th on Sunday at Misano.

2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 9, Wins 4, Podiums 9, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 103 (88 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 194 (152 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 30 (26 for Kawasaki)

Alex Lowes:
2021: Races: 9, Wins 0, Podiums 3, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 27 (7 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)

8 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
6 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics

Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 162 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 466 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 95 – second overall

   #NinjaSpirit

                             #Rea6

                            #FaceYourself

                            #Reach100

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Huertas And Carrasco Win Big At Misano

Kawasaki riders won both WorldSSP300 championship races at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli during a hot and hectic second round of the FIM World Championship, a series designed for younger riders and production derived machinery. New championship leader Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) and Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec) were Kawasaki’s race winners at Misano; […]

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Kawasaki riders won both WorldSSP300 championship races at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli during a hot and hectic second round of the FIM World Championship, a series designed for younger riders and production derived machinery.

New championship leader Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) and Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec) were Kawasaki’s race winners at Misano; Huertas on Saturday and Carrasco on Sunday.

The Kawasaki Ninja 400 powered riders to five of the six podium places on offer in each 15 lap race, and Kawasaki competitors were the majority of points scoring finishers overall.

The best placed Kawasaki rider after the Superpole qualifying session was Jose Luis  Perez Gonzalez (Accolade Smrz Racing Kawasaki) in second. He would go on to score 11th place in Sunday’s race Two.

A spectacular first race saw four Kawasaki riders occupy the top four positions at the end of an intense 15-lap contest, run under hot and sunny conditions.

A three rider final fight took place as the eventual top trio of Huertas, Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) and Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Team Kawasaki) broke away at a crucial late stage.

Huertas made the best of the last lap opportunity after passing De Cancellis, easing far enough ahead to make sure of the victory even after Booth Amos took second into the final corner. Only 0.230 seconds covered the top three riders in Race One.

Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) was fourth in a race that featured all the close action and thrills expected of this exciting full FIM World Championship class, designed to showcase younger riders’ skills on an important global stage.

The top ten positions were rounded out by Victor Rodriguez Nunez (Accolade Smrz Racing Kawasaki), a result that placed five Kawasaki Ninja 400s into the top ten positions.

2018 Champion Carrasco had to fight hard all through the opening race and despite setting the fastest lap she finished 15th, scoring one point. Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) was 11th on Saturday and Marc Garcia (2R Racing Kawasaki) 13th.

Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT), the reigning world champion, got taken off track as he made his way towards the top ten finishing places, and he was finally 28th.

In the second race a popular swashbuckling win for Carrasco was the perfect answer to the question of her level of physical fitness since her long recovery from a significant vertebrae injury suffered in testing last September.

Eighth after lap one, Ana moved forward at the right time in the final laps and capitalised on a mistake from Booth-Amos in the final corner to win her first race of 2021 and the seventh of her career – making her the clear record holder for WorldSSP300 race wins now.

In third place Samuel De Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) was almost a second behind Carrasco, after race leader Booth-Amos fell at the final corner, restarting to finish 17th.

Dorren Loureiro (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki) was fifth, and 2020 champion Buis – so unlucky on day one – gained a few places near the end when others fell, and he ended his Misano weekend seventh in Race Two.

Oliver Konig (Movisio by MIE Kawasaki) was eighth and Huertas tenth. Meuffels was 12th but could have been a podium contender but for an incident in the final laps that caused a contact and lost him several places. Thomas Brianti (Prodina Team Kawasaki) was 14th and the final Kawasaki points scorer.

After some big swings of fortune for the leading riders in Italy the championship standings now have Huertas the leader with 72 points, Booth-Amos second with 65, while Carrasco and Okaya share 42 points each after two rounds of the eight round season.

There will be no WorldSSP300 round at Donington Park, the next venue for the WorldSBK class itself, but the eager hordes of would-be ‘300’ champions will return to action at Assen in the Netherlands with races on 24 and 25 July.

Adrian Huertas (MTM Motoport Kawasaki), stated: “From the first free practice I just had a good pace. In Superpole I had some trouble setting a fast lap, but we were able to start from the second row of the grid. We won the first race after the team was able to repair my bike very quickly on the grid, after another rider hit me in the pitlane. It was a crazy second race. In the closing stages many riders hit each other and I finished tenth. It’s good to leave Misano as leader of the championship. Now I’m thinking about the next races in Assen.”

Ana Carrasco (Provec Kawasaki Racing), stated: “I don’t know how I won because today’s race was so crazy. I started well but when I was sixth or seventh it was difficult to pass the top riders because they had been faster all weekend, and I was a little bit on the limit. Today it was very hot and I was losing the front a little bit. This class is crazy… yesterday I was 15th and today I could win. I am happy for sure because the first round in Aragon was difficult and the weekend here was really difficult for me. But the team worked well and I tried not to give up. To get back to the podium, winning, is the perfect present for me.”

Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM Kawasaki), stated: “I was happy to take another podium on Saturday and it is more important championship points. I was happy about the race. There was a big battle and in the last few laps a few of us made a gap from the group, which was nice. On the last lap I left too much of a gap and then I tried to get past again in the slipstream, but it didn’t work.”

Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Team Kawasaki), stated: “I am very happy to be back on the podium especially at Misano because this is the place I scored my first point in the World Championship. It is a very good track and I like it. Thanks to the team because we worked very hard to be on the podium today. The victory was so close!”

Samuel Di Sora, (Leader team Flembbo), stated: “A crazy race, as always in Supersport 300. It was very, very tough to start from P19 and we had so, so many problems since the beginning of the weekend. Now that I have finished on the podium I would like to restart the qualifying now! We were a little late with the steps to get to where we need to be but to get to the podium from 19th was a lot of fun! I was third in the last sector and almost crashed but I got the bike to the finish and it was a little bit like a reward to get the podium.”

Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT), stated: “The Superpole was difficult. I was faster than Friday, but other riders were faster and I had to start from P13. It was not a problem for the race. I was fast and had a chance to win the first race. Therefore, I wasn’t happy with my fourth place. In the second race I had a harder time following the group, but later on I got to the front. In the last lap I crashed. I hit another rider and now I have a lot of back pain. We are going to do everything we can to recover for Assen!”

Jeffrey Buis (MTM Motoport Kawasaki), stated: “The pace during the free practice sessions was certainly not bad. I was just always in the wrong place at the wrong time during the Superpole, so I couldn’t set a fast lap. We were facing a challenge in the races. In the first race I started well and it was a shame about my crash. I didn’t have the pace in the second race to really push at the front. I stayed around tenth place and tried to attack in the closing stages. A lot of things happened in the last lap and I was able to pass well. I’m happy with this result!”

Koen Meuffels (MTM Motoport Kawasaki), stated: “We were fast in practice and I was very happy with my fifth time in Superpole. This gave us a good starting position for the races. In the first race I felt strong and was leading sometimes. In the closing stages of the race I was hit by another rider and lost a lot of places. It was a difficult second race. In my opinion, it was far too crazy in the leading group. The pace was definitely there, but twelfth is not the position where I want to end up.”

       #NinjaSpirit

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“New York steak” – A prime cut from Kawasaki, the birth of the first real Superbike!

69 means different things to different people, but when it comes to motorcycling in the relatively modern era, it means only one thing – Honda CB750 Four K naught. The launch of the Honda was a gut punch to Kawasaki. They had been developing a 750cc four-cylinder four-stroke motorcycle during the late ’60s too. The […]

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69 means different things to different people, but when it comes to motorcycling in the relatively modern era, it means only one thing – Honda CB750 Four K naught. The launch of the Honda was a gut punch to Kawasaki. They had been developing a 750cc four-cylinder four-stroke motorcycle during the late ’60s too. The launch of the Honda threw Kawasaki’s design team into a real tizz. Kawasaki has never been a company to follow. From the get-go, they developed a reputation for building exciting bikes with class-leading power. They scrapped the idea of a 750 and this gave birth to a project code-named “New York steak”. Kawasaki decided to build a four-cylinder four-stroke that would make power that was hitherto unknown from a production motorcycle.

I want to digress here for just a moment. Try to get your head around the world motorcycle landscape back in the ’60s and ’70s. It was so different to today, where new models, drowning in the latest technology, are spewed out by manufacturers like there is no tomorrow. Back then the world was still used to mainstream British bikes, which, by and large, were archaic in design. The Japanese were emerging as the dominant force in motorcycling globally, however, only Honda flew the four-stroke banner. Kawasaki ruled when it came to performance two strokes. The Kawi 750 H2 Mach 4 two-stroke triple, obliterated everything in sight in a straight line. The way it delivered its power as well as the dodgy handling resulted in many a sphincter clenching moment.

It was this raw and rough motorcycling landscape that made the purring, silky smooth and refined Honda Four, an instant worldwide success. Kawasaki was not going to be an “also-ran”. They wanted to maul the Honda, and anyone else for that matter, with a spectacular ‘tour de force’. People would literally stop and stare in awe if a CB750 rode past, revelling in the throaty four-cylinder burble. With project New York Steak, Kawasaki set about upstaging the Honda with a crushing blow that would have Big Red firmly relegated to “also-ran”. And so the first-ever Kawasaki ‘Z’ model, the legendary four-cylinder, Double Overhead Cam, four-stroke, 903cc, Z1, was conceived and birthed. In the early stage of its development, during project New York steak, it was known as the “V1 S”.

The design brief given to Norimasa ‘Ken’ Tada (senior stylist at Kawasaki), was the three S’s. The Z1 had to be Slim, Sleek and Sexy! It had to look nothing like the Honda. Tada was given a month to come up with a mock-up of the bike to present to Kawasaki Motor Corporation of America. He called home and informed his wife that she better forget that she had a husband for the next month! Working virtually round the clock, he flew to the States a month later with the mockup in a crate. The unveiling to Kawasaki America, who had the power to veto the design, if they thought that it did not have ‘American appeal’, was a nerve-wracking affair for Ben Tada. The design met with approval, albeit with the proviso that Tada “slim it down some more”.

Two test mules, disguised and badged as Honda’s, were ridden far and wide in the States, often at high speed, by Bryon Farnsworth and Paul Smart. Feedback was generally positive, however, the 83 HP Z1 made short work of its chain, resulting in the standard fitment of a chain oiler. Modern riders, who often don’t even lube their chains, let alone adjust them, just don’t understand the incredible advances in chain technology that has happened over the years. Back in the day, we adjusted our chains at least twice a week and even more often on a trip. We had no fancy chain lube either. It was gearbox oil that had to do the job. The Z1 was released to the public, to instant universal acclaim, in the latter part of 1972.

Kawasaki demonstrated its speed and reliability by wailing around Daytona to set a new World record, covering 2,631 miles at an average speed of 109,64 mph. French Canadian racer, Yvon Du Hamel, circulated a Yoshimura Z1 around Daytona at an incredible 160,28 mph. Interestingly, the 24 hr speed record was previously held by a modified R69S BMW. In stock trim, the Z1 punched out 83 hp and 73,5 Nm of torque at 8,500 rpm. It paralysed the 1972 version of the Honda CB750, which made less than 60 hp. The Z1 weighed a hefty 246 KG’S fully fuelled and ran a ¼ mile in 12,2 seconds, topping out at 125 mph. Tyres, chains and rear shocks tended to wear out quite swiftly, whereupon, like the other Jap bikes of the day, it wobbled like a demon at speed. Fact is, engine technology was outstripping chassis development. The decent handling bikes of the day, like Desmo Ducati’s, were suddenly not great when you upped their horsepower to Z1 levels.

The Z1 was an instant race track success. The popular 6-hour endurance race series for production bikes in Australia, sponsored by Pirelli, were dominated by Kawi Z1’s from 1973 to 1976. In the US, Superbike racing was hectic, being an almost ‘silhouette class’. The bikes looked vaguely stock, but were highly modified. Rob Muzzy, aided and abetted by the legendary ‘Pops’ Yoshimura, became the Kawasaki race guru, building some wickedly fast Z1’s. Eddie Lawson’s Z1 was good for 150 hp at 10250 rpm. The frame was stress relieved and heavily braced, to try and keep the power under control. Slick tyres on much wider rims, with serious suspension, made these some of the most spectacular production-based race bikes ever. Watching Lawson wrestle the fire breathing Z1 through the infield at Daytona and wail around the banking, was a spectacle never to be forgotten.

What I haven’t touched on is how stunning a looker the Z1 was. The modern Z900 RS, which pays homage to the original Z1, gives you some idea, but doesn’t quite have the same visual impact. The motor was blacked out with alloy side-covers with ‘DOHC’ cast in logos. In case you were in any doubt, the side-covers had badges with ‘900’, underlined by ‘Double Overhead Camshaft’. You were left with no doubt that this new Z1 was Big Muti! The paint job, Oh Lordy, the paint job! You could choose between Candy Brown and Orange or Candy Yellow and Green. Sounds gungy but the brown was almost more of a deep metallic burgundy. The bikes looked incredible. Ken Tada san, take a bow! Four beautiful pipes underlined the bike to perfection.

Yes, guys, those were heady days indeed! I was working for Club Motors, who were the importers of Kawasaki and BMW motorcycles at the time. Words fail me when I try and explain the incredible, palpable excitement, that the release of the Z1 elicited amongst the biking fraternity of the day. After three years, Honda’s CB750 Four had softened from the original ripsnorting K 0. We had got used to 750 fours. All of a sudden, here was a bike that violently upset our applecart. In truth, the two-stroke triple 750 Kawi, in its prime, was slightly faster than the Z1, but it could not match the way that the Z1 delivered its performance. Kawasaki, by 1973, had softened the performance of the H2, in an attempt to make it more palatable for general consumption and probably to not upstage its new Z1, in straight-line speed.

So next time you see a new ‘Z’ bike out on the road, spare a thought for the Grand Daddy of them all. The Mighty Z1, the first of the real Superbikes. It was the bike that entrenched Kawasaki as the company that you could rely on to give you really strong engines with big horsepower. Well done Kawasaki and long may that magnificent heritage continue!

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