Kawasaki Racing Team

WSBK – Rea ends Sykes stranglehold with historic Race Two win at Donington

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In a contest where only 14 riders finished the race, Jonathan Rea put in stellar performance to win his eighth race of the year and Kawasaki’s 100th in Superbike history.

Despite having to start from the fourth row of the grid because of his huge high speed crash in Race One,
Rea made a superb launch and was able to scythe his way through the field – such was Rea’s early pace that he went from tenth on the grid to second after just one complete lap, eventually taking the lead at Redgate on Lap Rea.

It was a commanding ride, and while many riders fell, Rea kept his cool, managing the gap to the chasing pack.

It was team-mate Tom Sykes who pushed Rea hardest. Sykes was in fifth place in lap one and eventually got to second place on lap seven. He managed to close the gap with some hard charging, but with the laps counting down Rea had enough of an advantage to hold the lead and win his 46th race since he joined the WSBK series.

The win secured put Kawasaki’s place the history books as only the third manufacturer to reach the landmark figure of 100 race victories. It was an impressive feat made even more remarkable considering his scary crash in yesterday’s race, and another heavy spill during this morning’s practice

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I had an incredible first lap today. I had been really frustrated because I got penalised by no fault of my own yesterday in scoring no points and then penalised again with my grid position today, when I went back to tenth. I knew I had to make a good start straight away otherwise my race was over. I was really quiet today and after warm-up I was really nervous. I was going through all these scenarios in my head about what I would do with a good start, or a bad start, and then what my race plan would be. My guys worked really hard overnight to build a completely brand new bike because yesterday’s was destroyed. The first time I rode it this morning, with some set-up changes from Pere. The bike was talking to me in a way I have not had this year. So I knew today was mine if I could get a good start.

“There was a little bit of pressure for the 100th Kawasaki win and I was thinking about it today. From half race distance I said to myself that it has to be me today. We managed the race perfectly and I even managed a nice little stand-up wheelie at the end!”

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WSBK – Sykes continues Donington domination with Race One win

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On a dry track surface at Donington Park Tom Sykes won his first WSBK race of the season in dominant style, crushing the field by crossing the line a clear 16.5 seconds ahead of second place man Leon Haslam.

The victory sees Sykes score his ninth successive win at Donington Park – the 32nd of his career – and means he closes the points gap on his team-mate and championship leader Jonathan Rea to 50 after after a problem with his rear tyre caused Rea crash spectacularly at Craner Curves, without injury.

In the morning, before the start of the first race, Superpole was won by Sykes – the 39th of his career and the first this season, setting a new track best of 1’26.641 in the process.

At the beginning of the opening 23-lap contest, it was Ducati’s Chaz Davies took the lead, from Sykes and Rea, then after one lap of the 4.023km track Rea slotted into second place, and then the lead, after Davies crashed out on lap seven.

Having been down in fourth place for a short period, after trying to pass Rea for second but running wide, Sykes found himself behind eventual podium finisher Leon Haslam, racing as a wildcard at his ‘home’ circuit on the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing machine.

Sykes steadily worked his way into the lead at his favourite circuit and eventually had a clear run to victory, while Rea began experiencing some vibration issues late in the race which forced him to slow his pace. However with three laps to go his tyre deflated, causing the rear to come around as he tapped on the gas through Craner Curves.

Haslam, a wildcard rider for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team and riding with the blessing of his JG Speedfit Kawasaki British Superbike team, took his second place after Rea’s misfortune, but was already in line for a podium finish close to the end of the race after making a strong start.

The final rung on the podium was gifted Alex Lowes on the Yamaha after Ducati’s Marco Melandri, after he inexplicably ran on to the grass on the approach to the final corner.

Tom Sykes, stated: “That was a fantastic race and I enjoyed it. It turned out to be very difficult and not necessarily what I had in the plan but that is part of racing. We had a good start but during the attempted pass on Chaz I had a full fuel load and was just a little bit on the limit, I ran wide and did again on Jonathan. I lost a lot of time there but today’s experience has been a blessing in disguise really, because I now have a better understanding of the race bike set-up while riding with the others. All weekend I have been fairly much alone on track and doing my own thing and had some great results. But today being behind other riders was hampering the lap time. Overall to win here and continue my form at Donington is fantastic. ”

Jonathan Rea, stated: “About a lap before Tom passed me I started to get a lot of vibration entering the corner off the gas. I had a lot of chatter from the front and the rear. When Tom passed me it started to get worse and worse. All I was thinking about was to finish the race and get some points. In hindsight I should have pulled over because I would have saved my bike because it was completely destroyed. The team will have to build me a new bike for tomorrow so that is frustrating for the mechanics as well. I am really disappointed, to be honest.”

WSBK – Rea wins photo finish Race Two at Assen

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Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea celebrated his 200th series start in style after crossing the line by the narrowest of margins at Assen – just 0.025 seconds separated the Ulsterman and team-mate Tom Sykes as the reigning champions secured another double Dutch success.

Rea made a strong start, cutting through the field from ninth on the grid and taking the lead early on. However, the strong winds caused him to run wide, brining him back into the clutches of his team-mate Sykes.

Sykes continued to push hard, shadowing Rea, though never looking capable of passing him. However, he got superb drive through the final chicane, catching Rea and almost passing him on the drag to the line.

The win was Rea’s 11th at Assen since he started his WSBK career and his third double at this 4.542km circuit since he joined Kawasaki in 2015.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been an incredible weekend of racing. I have been especially happy with Superpole yesterday because the lap I made then was maybe the best lap I have ever made on a bike. I am really proud of that. Of course the race wins were really nice to take away. Today was a race of two halves. In the first half I raced hard until I got a warning so in the second half I just managed things to try and be safe and bring her home. I had a little bit left at the end but the biggest problem was the wind today. I was pulling a gap but then I had a huge front slide in T11, and my foot came off the peg, at mid-race distance. I decided just to ride and save something for the last laps after that. I had a big wobble coming out of 11 again near the end and I then just tried to be clever in the last lap and cover the last corner. My line was probably not the fastest way around there but it covered any move up the inside and I made it to the line first.”

It was an important day of statistics for Rea, as he also secured his 45th WSBK career win and his 30th individual race win for Kawasaki.

In the championship Rea now leads by 64 points, from his team-mate Sykes, with Chaz Davies third on 111 points and second race faller Marco Melandri on 97.

The next races in the series will take place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th of May, at the Imola circuit in Italy.

WSBK – Rea wins Race One at Assen

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Jonathan Rea claimed the Race One win after a day of controversy at Assen.

The Ulsterman was caught up in a war of words with Ducati’s Chaz Davies in Parc Ferme, with the title rivals exchanging candid views about a coming together in qualifying – the Kawasaki rider was convinced he had left Davies enough room; Davies adamant that Rea had ruined his hot lap. Race Control sided with the Welshman, judging Rea had impeded the progress of a rival while he had been setting a fast lap, and thus imposed a penalty demoting him to fourth.

Tensions were still simmering on the grid for the start, with Davies still seething about Rea’s ‘lack of sportingness’.

As the lights dropped, Davies, Sykes and Rea made strong starts, with Davies doing most of the early front-running.

The pace was fast and Rea set a new lap record, over a second faster then the previous one, on lap three, with a 1’34.880 as he caught Davies, shadowing the Ducati rider for lap after lap.

Rea eventually pounced, only to be re-passed, and after a close battle, managed to edge back into front with two laps to go. However, the drama was not over as Davies was forced to stop trackside on Lap 20 with an electrical issue.

Rea crossed the line to take the win, his tenth at the Dutch track, with team-mate Tom Sykes claiming second and Ducati’s Marco Melandri taking over third spot.

Rea said: “That one was really nice because the more wins you get on a certain track the more pressure you feel to repeat it. I am not sure why I click so well with Assen but it seems to be working. It seems like our bike was working very well in the faster sections of the track, and Chaz was fast out of T5 in acceleration. I could maintain the lap time as we were to-ing and fro-ing at certain parts of the track, but I was strong in the back section, where it counts for passes. I had good pace at the end and I wanted to go through then and make a gap. But every time I put my nose in front there was a big block pass into the last corner. It was, honestly, very unfortunate for Chaz at the end and it is never a good way to lose points. But it was important for me that that bad luck happened to him when he was behind me because at that point of the race I was trying to make my rhythm and go away.”

WSBK – Rea looking forward to more success at Assen

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This weekend sees WSBK visit one of the most iconic venues on the calendar – TT Assen Circuit in Netherlands, known to all as The Cathedral of Speed.

Reigning world champion, and current series leader, Jonathan Rea is hoping that he can continue the run of form that has given him a strong lead in the early part of this year’s campaign.

The Dutch track is the Ulsterman’s favourite circuit and he is hoping that he can continue the run of form he has enjoyed on Dutch soil over the years – since joining the WSBK class full time in 2009, Rea has had 12 podium finishes, with no fewer than nine race wins, including double wins in 2010 and in the last two years, 2015 and 2016 on the Kawasaki.

Rea also has another reason to look forward to the weekend – Race Two on Sunday will see him make his 200th race start.

Rea said: “I’m really excited to go to Assen as it’s a circuit that typically I’ve been very strong at in the past. I really enjoy the layout and nature of the track. Sunday at Assen will also mark my 200th career WSBK race start so that, in itself, is something I’m both proud and excited about.

“The Assen weekend always falls around this time of the year and history has shown that the weather can play a part, so it’s important to be fast in both the wet and the dry. I’m excited for whatever condition arrives. It’s always a great feeling riding in front of the passionate Dutch fans, who always turn out in force.”

WSBK – Rea takes race brace in Thailand

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Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea continued his perfect start to the 2017 WSBK campaign by taking his second win of the weekend today, and his fourth in succession.

After taking pole position and the first race win at the Chang International Circuit, Rea had to make two race starts today, just like his peer group. In the only race finish that mattered the Ulsterman stayed at the front and scored his fourth win in a row, giving him a perfect score of 100 points so far and a championship lead of 30 over Ducati’s Chaz Davies.

Rea said: “This is the best start to a season ever in my career. It is important to maximise these points when we can because it is how I built my championships in the past. When we can win, make sure we win, and then we can try and consolidate. These four victories are nearly halfway to my win tally from last year already! It is a good start and I just feel comfortable on the bike. We took the bike set-up we had from Phillip Island to here and it just pretty much worked. That is unheard of, so I have a good bond with the bike. We expect to improve the bike again in the next races.”

WSBK – Rea wins Race One in Thailand

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Defending champion Jonathan Rea secured his third race win in succession on the ZX-10RR this season after a front-running display from pole position at the Chang International Circuit.

From the very beginning of the first Thai race, in the full heat of the afternoon, Superpole winner Rea was in determined mood, making a clear gap after just one lap of the 4.554km circuit. He eventually finished the 6.279 seconds clear of Ducati’s Chaz Davies who crossed the line in second.
Rea also set a new lap record to add to his new track best from Superpole 2. He reduced the lap record to 1’33.436 on lap five and in Superpole he had made a 1’32.957 – on race tyres – as there were no qualifying tyres available at this round.

Rea said: “I did not know what my pace would be. I know it was fast enough to fight for the win but when I saw I had a gap of 0.4 seconds in the first lap I decided to try and put my head down as much as I could. As soon as I broke the one second mark I knew that slipstreaming was not going to come into play for the riders behind, so I just set my own rhythm. My pace was 1’33 and honestly I made a couple mistakes on some laps and was still in the 1‘33s. I managed to hold that rhythm and not try to over-push. It looks like we used the tyre a little bit on the right side but I guess that was to be expected as we were six seconds up the road at the end. I am really happy with that race.”

WSBK – Rea dominates Jerez test

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After a week of testing at Jerez in Spain Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes set impressive lap times as they shared the circuit with some of the main 2017 rivals and several top MotoGP runners. Riding the 2017-spec Ninja ZX-10RR, Rea set the fastest individual lap time of the tests on a dry track on Thursday, with Sykes the third fastest WorldSBK rider and the fifth fastest rider overall.

The Jerez test featured three dry days in the middle of the week, bracketed by two wet days on Monday and Friday. Neither of the riders took to the track on Friday 25, as conditions had deteriorated so much. Rea left Jerez with a track best of 1’38.721 while using a qualifying rear tyre, with Sykes setting a 1’39.461, again on a ‘Q’ rear tyre. Rea was even more pleased with the 1’39.5 lap time he set on race tyres than his best-of-test flying lap of 1’38.721.

Rea had completed his pre-planned schedule by Thursday afternoon but a crash for Sykes earlier the same day lost him some track time just as his crew had fitted all the most promising new parts and settings to his number one machine. He still managed to complete a fast lap time on his spare machine and enjoyed consistent pace over distance.

Rea, stated: “It has been a very successful test with three days of very consistent weather. We also got a morning of wet conditions in which we confirmed a few things, especially a new Showa rear shock.

“We did two race simulations on Thursday that we were very happy with. We can go into the winter in great shape and with a lot of confidence for next season. Having the new Ninja ZX-10RR has let us fix some of our weaker points, as our engine is a little bit stronger than before, with some extra RPM. That is always an added bonus. We can be optimistic for 2017.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “Always in the winter time we try to follow all the items we have that Japan has prepared. Chassis engine, suspension, everything. We focused not to set the bike up for the racetrack; we focused to try out the parts. I know the potential of Kawasaki as a manufacturer, Johnny, the team, everybody, but still it has been so positive here. With a Q tyre we made a big, big step forward. With a race tyre our target was to improve the durability in the second part of the race. It seems like we have made another step. I can say that we reached our targets for the first part of the winter tests. We are very pleased to be in the shape that we are in and with all the information we have.”

A break in track action now begins for the team, with the winter test schedule restarting at Jerez in January 2017.

BSB – Haslam opts to stay with Team Green for 2017

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Leon Haslam will be back for an attack on the 2017 BSB title after signing for Kawasaki UK to line up at Bournemouth Kawasaki alongside Luke Mossey as he bids to go one better after narrowly missing out on this year’s crown.

Haslam returned to Britain this year from the WSBK stage with JG Speedfit Kawasaki and celebrated nine race wins and a further six podium finishes as he took the title fight with Shane Byrne down to the wire at the final round.

The contender had options to return to WSBK but instead chose to sign a contract with the Kawasaki factory and remain in WSBK.

Haslam said: “This year was obviously a good one for me; it was my first season with Kawasaki and also the first back in BSB with the no electronics rule. It was a tough year revisiting some of the tracks I hadn’t been to for eight years but we came out fighting at every round.

“I had some interesting options in WSBK but I know with this package we are going to be battling for wins and a championship title. I believe in Kawasaki and I think this second year working together will certainly put us in a stronger position than when we started out this season.

“The aim for me is always to win and of course Shakey will be the target, but we both go into the new season with a year with our respective manufacturers so I feel we are in a similar position. There are lots of interesting rumours about who will be joining us on the grid next year, which is great as I love a challenge. We go into the 2017 season ahead of where we started this year and we will be ready to roll when it comes to Donington Park for the first round.”

Mossey will return for a third consecutive season with the team as the 24-year old from Cambridge bids to build on his performance this year after securing a closely-fought Showdown place for the first time, scoring four podium finishes and a best result of second place at Oulton Park.

Mossey made his MCE BSB debut in 2015, progressing from the Dickies British Supersport class and became a podium finisher in his rookie campaign, ending with him celebrating the Riders Cup title.

The team will make their first public appearance when they officially unveil their new livery and title partner at Motorcycle Live at the NEC Birmingham on Saturday 19 November at the Kawasaki stand.

WSBK – rea takes second world title at Losail

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Under the lights that illuminate the Losail International Circuit at Doha, the setting for the last round of the WSBK season, Northern Irish rider, Jonathan Rea of the Kawasaki Racing Team was crowned FIM Superbike World Champion today for the second consecutive year.

The twenty-nine year-old, who finished second in Race One behind Ducati rider Chaz Davies, has been with the Kawasaki team since last year and, since his arrival, he has led the Akashi-based manufacturer in winning both the Manufacturers Title and the Riders Title.

It was a weekend with all to play for and Rea arrived at this last round with a 48-point advantage over his teammate, English rider Tom Sykes, who had to settle for fourth place in the race and second place in the Championship.

The action began with a sernsational Superpole ession, and Rea made it abundantly clear straight away that he was eager to end the battle for the championship title as soon as possible and, with a time of 1’56.356, not only did he take the best position on the starting grid, but he also broke the track record set by his teammate, Tom Sykes in 2015 by almost half a second.

In Race One, Rea secured the championship, the first rider since Carl Fogarty to successfully defend the title. Ducati’s Chaz Daviescontinued his blistering recent form and got off the line well, overtaking both the Northern Irishman and Honda’s Nicky Hayden to take the lead, with Tom Sykes languishing in fourth place, one ahead of Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli.

The top two positions would remain unvaried for the entire race, with Hayden, Sykes and Guintoli taking turns in third. In the end, the Frenchman had the upper hand and crossed the line behind the Welshman and the new 2016 World Champion.

Race Two saw Nicky Hayden forced to start from pit lane as he had already gone through all the engines allowed by the rules. Even before the start, the race had also already lost another potential protagonist, Ducati’s Davide Giugliano, who decided not to take part in Race 2 due to a physical problem.

At the start, Jonathan Rea started lightning fast from pole position, but by the end of the first lap, Chaz Davies had already overtaken him and, under pressure, he went wide on a turn, losing several positions.

Behind the Ducati rider, Tom Sykes gave chase ahead of Sylvain Guintoli and the race looked to be a re-run of Race One until Lap Seven when Al Sulaiti’s bike caught fire, forcing the marshals to red flag the race.

At the restart there were ten laps to race. Davies remained in the lead, followed once again by Tom Sykes in second and Pedercini Racing’s Leon Haslam in third. Before the end of the second lap, however, the latter had already yielded his position to Jonathan Rea.

During the fourth lap, Rea began to be a threat to his teammate, Tom Sykes, overtaking him a lap later to move into second place. This pass temporarily clinched second place in the final overall Championship standings for Chaz Davies.

However Rea, played the team game and slowed on the last lap, allowing Sykes to pass and thus secure second in the overall standings. It was a gesture which no one saw coming, especially considering the open animosity between the two, and reaffirmed Rea’s position as the consummate professional.

Thus the race win and a well-deserved third place in the Rider World Championship went to Chaz Davies, finishing first to bring home a double win for Ducati, the fifth this year, after a surprising season finale with no less than seven consecutive wins.