Kawasaki will send the all-new Ninja ZX-10R into the 2011 World Superbike battles with a three-rider team, as current riders Tom Sykes and Chris Vermeulen are joined by Spaniard Joan Lascorz on the Paul Bird Motorsports-run team.Sykes did the heavy lifting for the Kawasaki team in 2010 after Vermeulen injured his right knee early in the season. The Brit finished 14th overall, with a best finish of fourth in the penultimate round in Imola, Italy. He also did the early testing on the ZX-10R and has continued to test, including this week in Aragon, Spain.”It’s great to be staying with Kawasaki as a manufacturer and ride for the Paul Bird team again for 2011,” Sykes said. “We have done some good work together this year and exceeded some of our expectations, so it is nice to stay with PBM Kawasaki team in what will be an important year for us all. The new bike is already showing massive potential in testing and we have a lot of sessions planned through the winter.”Vermeulen will start his second season on the factory Kawasaki after he finishes his rehabilitation from reconstructive surgery on his right knee. The Australian injured it in the very first World Superbike race weekend on home ground at Phillip Island. Vermeulen missed Phillip Island and the next two races, then returned for Assen. He struggled through the next four races, never finishing higher than 13th. His season ended in Brno, when a first lap crash did further damage to his knee. Vermeulen then underwent surgery to be ready for the 2011 season.”I am working hard to get ready for next year,” Vermeulen said. “Kawasaki has been great; they have stood behind me and given me great support. With three riders Kawasaki is keen to move forward and Tom (Sykes) did a great job on the 2010 bike at the end of the year. It is all good to see, and I have already had a close look at the new bike. It looks cool and it certainly seems to be working well already. It’s exciting and I can’t wait to get on the new bike.”Lascorz was promoted from the Supersport class, where he raced for the Kawasaki Motocard.com team in 2010. The Spaniard was in the thick of the championship chase when his season ended with a crash and injury at Silverstone, the 10th of 13 rounds. Still, he finished third in the World Supersport Championship.”It’s my dream to continue my relationship with Kawasaki and now I have the chance to ride in World Superbike, on an exciting new machine,” Lascorz said. “I am recovering well from the injuries I picked up in Silverstone and I am looking forward to getting on the Superbike as soon as I can. I want to say thank you to Kawasaki for the help and support and I hope to repay them with good results in my rookie year in WSBK racing.”Spaniard David Salom, who rode for the ParkinGO BE1 Triumph team in 2010, replaces Lascorz on the World Supersport team, joining current team member, Australian Broc Parkes.”I’m very happy with the opportunity,” Salom said. “I know many riders want to ride the official Ninja ZX-6R, so I am a little lucky to be the one chosen. I hope my experience in World Supersport can be a good point to add to the team and next year improve my results a little. I want to say thanks to Kawasaki and Motocard.com for giving me this great opportunity.” Added Parkes, “It’s a great feeling to be riding for Kawasaki in 2011 and we have already done good work in testing, finding new set-ups to take forward to next year. This is a great opportunity for me and both the bike and team are well proven in this class. We will be a strong package together in 2011.”
Kawasaki Names World Superbike Team
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.