It has been a dismal start to the World Superbike Championship for everyone except Ducati, who have taken all 11 race wins on offer so far with new rider Alvaro Bautista and the Panigale V4 R.
However, none are feeling the pinch more so than current champions Kawasaki with their ZX-10RR and Jonathan Rea, who has suffered the indignity of barely challenging Bautista and Co. in the races so far in Australia, Thailand, Spain, and Holland.
That fact has not sat well with Kawasaki Race Director, Ichiro Yoda, who has slammed the Ducati project as a “MotoGP bike on Pirellis” and vows Kawasaki will come back with an all-new machine to challenge in 2020.
“Catching Ducati this season is difficult,” said Yoda to German publication Speedweek. “Their engine comes from the MotoGP World Championship—their whole package is from MotoGP. This is a MotoGP bike with Pirelli tires. Even if we were allowed to use concession parts, we would be limited. With the homologated concession parts, we cannot reach the performance of the Ducati. We would not be able to reach their speed. ”
Is an extreme Kawasaki ZX-10RR coming?
Does that mean Kawasaki will need to produce a new, limited edition ZX-10RR for the 2020 WorldSBK Championship?
“That’s the solution,” Yoda says. “We have to become more competitive and think about a MotoGP-like bike. An extreme bike that we produce in limited numbers in series. For Kawasaki, it is easy to build 500 such motorcycles. But I have doubts about this direction. Is this way right or not? For 2015, the costs have been reduced, thus the performance was less. From 2014 to 2015, the four-cylinder lost 20 hp—the performance of Ducati was then the same with the Twin.
“We have a lot of experience from MotoGP with such powerful four-cylinder engines, which is easy for us. Internally, Kawasaki thinks that if Ducati continues with this bike next season, we need a machine like that. We are not in the championship just to be there. If we bring a motorcycle with a similar concept, then we can beat Bautista and Ducati.”
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