Kawasaki to unveil new race-oriented Ninja ZX-10R superbike
Kawasaki has teased the forthcoming unveiling of its 2016 Ninja ZX-10R with a partial image and some rudimentary info. Scheduled for official presentation in October, the new superbike will be a race biased evolution of the current model in an effort to further cement its dominance in the World Superbike Championship.
The currentNinja ZX-10R has been in the market for a good few years now, yet it is still the point ofreference in the top racing class of the World Superbike Championship (WSBK). As thisproduction racing series is currently undergoing a mutation period, the shift is toward a more restrictive environment as a means of cutting costs.
With the officialrules gradually limiting the modifications that teams are allowed to apply totheir racing motorcycles, manufacturers are choosing to incorporate even more racegear into the standard production models. This is a trend we can clearlydistinguish in the latest production superbikes, as most ofthem have by now climbed to a 200 hp (149 kW) performance level, equippedwith full electronic support packages (traction control, wheelie control,launch control etc), advanced cornering ABS systems and comprehensive data loggingcapabilities.
Kawasaki apparentlyacknowledges this trend while creating the new ZX-10R or, to be precise,updating the current model.
"This isnot a 'clean sheet' design as the current Ninja ZX-10R is such a good base todevelop from," explains Project Leader Yoshimoto Matsuda. "With the new modelwe have focused our development resources on an overall engineering andperformance improvement. We are proud of the result; it means a significantadvance in terms of both chassis and engine performance as well as providingthe platform to introduce new, state of the art rider aids and othertechnology."
With inputfrom the two top riders of the WSBK Championship, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes,the new Ninja is designed to be even more competitive on the racetrack.
"Wewant to provide a better racing machine to riders who can appreciate thesechanges," disclosed Guim Roda, Team Manager for Kawasaki WSBK team, in arecent interview with German website Speed Week. "Most other riders willhardly notice the difference. We are talking about a production bike withmore than 200 hp; one can hardly exploit its potential at 100 percent. Thosewho will use this bike in racing will be very pleased with the improvements,for them it's a big step forward as it will be much more competitive."
Accordingto Roda, Kawasaki's initial strategy had to change as it saw a window of opportunity. Aprilia, BMW, Ducati and Yamaha alreadyhad new models for 2015, so they are not expected to come up with anything freshin 2016. There is no word from Honda on when to expect a new CBR1000RR, whileonly recently Suzuki confirmed that a new GSX-R1000 is not in the cards for2016, but rather for 2017.
Nevertheless, Kawasaki practically whitewashed thisyear's championship, with its factory riders occupying the top two seats of the 2015WSBK classification. Common sense dictates that a new and improved ZX-10R should offer agolden opportunity to further extend its lead over rivals, at least fornext year.
The 2016WSBK Championship kicks off at Doha, Qatar in October 18 and Roda believes that the racing teams will have the new bikes available for wintertesting ahead of the racing season.
Kawasaki has announced that the official unveiling of the new NinjaZX-10R will take place some time in October at an exclusive media launch hostedalongside the Kawasaki Racing Team in Barcelona, Spain.