Alvaro Bautista says Kawasaki has the luxury of being able to treat its World Superbike project with the same level of dedication that rival manufacturers commit to their MotoGP bikes.
Honda rider Bautista made the remark during last week’s post-season test at Jerez, where Kawasaki unveiled the 2021 version of its ultra-successful ZX-10RR machine featuring radically revised front bodywork and an updated engine.
Jonathan Rea set the fastest time of the test using the new bike at Jerez, and is back in action for another two-day test this week at Aragon.
While Kawasaki’s 2021 machine represents its biggest year-on-year change in some seasons, the Japanese manufacturer has not gone down the route of producing a ‘homologation special’ in the mould of Ducati’s V4 Panigale R or BMW’s M1000RR.
Asked if he was surprised about Kawasaki’s decision, Bautista replied: “When the bike is working well, why change? They keep winning, so why change the bike?
“Maybe you think it’s a normal Superbike, but them for it’s like a MotoGP [bike] because they don’t have any other championships and they put all the effort in this championship. Maybe the bike looks normal, but inside is the secret.”
Ex-MotoGP rider Bautista was eighth-fastest of the 11 WSBK riders present at Jerez, three places behind Honda teammate Leon Haslam.
The Spanish rider said he found “some good points but also some bad points” experimenting with different set-ups, as the CBR1000RR-R goes into its second season of competition.
“[This year] the bike was very new and I hope that for next season we have now a normal base, to start the work, especially in the winter,” said Bautista.
“Maybe last season we start to work, not late, but with the [limited] time like this, and the COVID situation, we could not make more tests to make a base set-up.”
Asked specifically what he has asked Honda’s engineers in Japan to deliver with the 2021 bike, Bautista said: “I want more turning and more rear grip, especially, and just fix a little bit on the electronic side, with the engine brake and the power delivery.
“Today we made some set-up adjustments and we found some positives and some negatives. Now they have the data and I say to them, ‘I want this, this and this’ and they have to work to put all the good things together. We’ll see.”