WSBK – WSBK: teams, drivers and challenges for the 2011 season – Kawasaki: five ZX-10Rs to revive the Greens!


WSBK: teams, drivers and challenges for the 2011 season

WSBK - WSBK: teams, drivers and challenges for the 2011 season - Kawasaki: five ZX-10Rs to revive the Greens!

Once again this year, Site will follow the exploits, setbacks, fights and victories of the World Superbike for you. The 2011 season begins February 26 in Australia, but let’s take advantage of the official tests in Portimao to make the presentations !

Kawasaki: five ZX-10R to revive the Greens !

The only novelty for 2011 in the Superbike segment, the new Kawasaki ZX-10R is the great unknown of this 2011 season … Its mission is important: to restore the image of Akashi, somewhat tarnished after six seasons spent at the bottom of the manufacturers’ standings. – apart from MV Agusta and the Petronas of King Fogarty…

100% focused on the World Superbike (read), the Greens’ competition department benefits from the boundless support of the brand’s big names: for them, the new Ninja will be the showcase of the huge KHI complex. !

In order to increase their chances of success – statistically, this is the best way – the Japanese have enrolled not two but three pilots! Chris Vermeulen and Tom Sykes thus retain their place acquired in 2010, but they are joined by Joan Lascorz, one of the three best drivers of the Supersport field in 2010..

Unfortunately, the ingenious calculation of the Japanese is distorted by the "health" factor of the pilots: Chris, in particular, is only slowly recovering from his knee surgery last July. The No.77 even had to cut short his participation in the private practice of the Kawasaki Racing Team which was held on the track of Sepang two weeks ago….

Customary in video interviews on his personal website, Vermeulen did not hide his disappointment: "I was only able to ride one day out of the three … half a day actually, after which my knee started to swell and hurt", he relates directly to his fans.

Unable to sway in the bends to the right, just at ease in a straight line, the 2005 WSBK vice-champion could only turn left … Relatively good news, since it is precisely the meaning Phillip Island rotation !

Cycling, swimming, physio, wave kayaking, barbecue at sea … Chris is preparing his new season as well as possible and has decided, in agreement with his chef Paul Risbridger, to skip Portimao. He is expected to be back in official practice at his home in Phillip Island, a week before he starts his 60th World Superbike race..

Joan Lascorz is currently not in top form either. Injured at Silverstone in early August – "a battered shoulder, an equally affected finger and four fractured ribs", identified the Greens -, the Spanish Ninja had to put aside his chances of obtaining the world crown in Supersport against the two Honda of Sofuoglu and Laverty.

However, this did not prevent the n ° 26 from obtaining his pass for the upper category, within a team which he already knows perfectly and with whom he carried out the last rather promising tests in Malaysia. "Although I was not 100% of my form, I had good times, close to Tom’s", Joan pointed out.

Regular lap times in 2’05 and a few sprints in 2’04 on the Pirelli racing tires were mentioned by the team on its return from Sepang. Rather convincing results when compared to the last official lap times achieved by Melandri on the Hayate in 2009: 2’03 on qualifying Bridgestones’.

Naturally, we will wait until the end of the tests in Portimao to begin to place the ZX-10R against its competitors. Then we will carefully observe the first races to make a firm decision … but never definitively, because the development of the machines is now constant, in particular thanks to the electronics. !

In the absence of Vermeulen, Sykes therefore acts as pilot n ° 1. A status that he endorsed in the middle of last summer with determination, leading to relative success: subscribed to the "rear posts" at the start of the season, Tom has climbed five times in the Top 10 in the last six races…

During the last tests at Sepang, the English would have increased the pace further: "on the last day we took a big step forward and increased our speed", rejoiced the n ° 66."The progress is due to the geometry and the chassis: we now have an excellent balance, which corresponds well to my riding style.".

Since his incredible second place at Donington in 2008 when he was a guest – wild card, as they say – the 25-year-old pilot (August 26, 2011) has no longer tasted champagne … His new season at Kawasaki – after a first good year spent in the shadow of Ben Spies at Yamaha – will it allow him to restart his podium count ?

Two other ZX-10Rs will also take part in this 24th edition of the World Superbike Championship: those of the Pedercini team which rode Roger Lee Hayden and Matteo Baiocco last year. Going completely unnoticed last year, neither of the two pilots has been retained.

But beware, like BMW, Kawasaki could have some nice surprises in store with this second "made in Italy" team! The only confirmed rider at the moment is Roberto Rolfo, winner of the first Moto2 race in Sepang last fall. This is to say if the Italian was very comfortable on the Malaysian route to rough the work on the private Ninja. !

"I decided to quit Moto2 because I wanted to ride the new Kawasaki ZX-10R and take advantage of its enormous potential.", recalled the vice-world champion 250 cc (in 2003) on the announcement of his signature with Pedercini.

Already passed through the WSBK box in 2007 and 2008, the native of Turin made a good impression in the first year by taking the controls of his CBR1000RR six fifth places and two fourth. But his sophomore year has only seen him make the Top 10 once … will Roby do better with the all new Ninja? ?

As for the second Pedercini pilot, he is currently unknown. Gabor Talmacsi shot well in Sepang on the ZX-10R, but the Hungarian would rather stay in Moto2…

However, we know that the team will allow its driver registered this year in Superstock 1000, Bryan Staring, to participate in the opening round at Phillip Island. Reigning Australian Superbike champion, he will ride at home and could therefore bring some points to Kawasaki.

Kawasaki teams

Kawasaki Racing Team

  • Chris Vermeulen # 77
  • Tom Sykes # 66
  • Joan Lascorz # 17

    Team Pedercini

  • Roberto Rolfo # 44
  • To be defined (to your CV!)
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