Kawasaki reveals 2022 WorldSBK contender

Kawasaki reveals 2022 WorldSBK contender

With just over two weeks until the start of the 2022 World Superbike Championship season at Aragon, Kawasaki has unveiled the latest generation of the ZX-10RR.

The launch comes after Honda and Ducati, it is the third different WSBK manufacturer to unveil its new bike, with only Yamaha and BMW yet to formally unveil their new offerings for 2022.

Six-time WSBK champion Jonathan Rea will lead Kawasaki’s rider line-up once again, with Alex Lowes joining the 35-year-old for the third season in a row after signing a new multi-year contract in 2021.

After finishing second in a season-long battle between the two Japanese manufacturers last year, Kawasaki starts the 2022 season with the goal of reclaiming the championship from Yamaha.

“After over a decade being so closely connected with this Kawasaki WorldSBK project, and with eight titles in that time, our primary goals are another riders’ championship, plus teams’ and manufacturers’ titles in 2022,” said KRT team manager Guim Roda.

“Launching the new team livery so close to our base in Granollers allows everyone connected with the team to be involved and it’s a great launch pad for our mission to succeed.

“Both Johnny and Alex have the potential to win races and chase for championship honours, and we have many dedicated staff who have worked with us for several years.”

“For sure the challenge is big but we have come up with good plans and now our ‘big unveil’ becomes a major public display of our commitment to succeed.”

Kawasaki’s six-year reign in the production-based class came to an end with Yamaha’s victory. Kawasaki had been unblemished in the category since Rea joined the team from Honda in 2015, forming the championship’ most successful alliance.

After Rea encouraged the manufacturer to “up up” its game in December in the face of fierce competition, Kawasaki will be hopeful that the changes it made to the ZX-10RR in 2022 will help it close the performance gap with Yamaha R1.

Rea, for one, will be trying to avoid the mistakes that marred his 2021 season, which saw the Ulsterman crash many times despite running in podium positions in an attempt to compensate for the Kawasaki’s inadequacies.

For the first time since 2015, Rea will ride with his usual #65 bike number, having lost the right to utilize the #1 plate to Yamaha’s reigning champion Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Lowes, on the other hand, will be hoping for a healthy season after missing seven races in the final four rounds of the previous season owing to a string of costly mishaps.

Kawasaki finished third in the manufacturers’ title last year, behind Yamaha and Ducati, due to Lowes’ protracted absence and a lack of viable replacements.

The 2022 WSBK season kicks off on April 9-10 with a trio of races in Aragon. The majority of the 2022 field is due to meet this week in Barcelona for two days of private training before heading to Aragon for an official Dorna-sponsored test.

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