KHI’s official 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship entry, Kawasaki Racing Team, unveiled its machinery and full package of partners and sponsors to a waiting world at the prestigious Esfèric facility in Barcelona this week.
Striking colours and graphics on the all-new 2016 Ninja ZX-10R were unveiled by KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, with Motocard, Elf Total and Monster Energy logos on prominent display on the sides of the new machine.
The event included a retrospective of the recent challenges and successes that have shaped the double championship winning team in the 2015 season, as well as presenting the awesome new Ninja ZX-10R in its final WorldSBK form.
A busy evening included interviews with riders Jonathan Rea (champion in 2015) and Tom Sykes (champion in 2013), videos featuring key moments in Kawasaki’s racing history and speeches from the assembled dignitaries.
The launch was attended by all forms of media representatives and was also shown as a live webcast for those who could not be in attendance in person.
Thursday evening’s event attracted a lot of well-timed public and media attention for the reigning Riders and Manufacturers’ champions, given that the season itself gets underway shortly at Phillip Island in Australia, between 26 and 28 February.
Jonathan Rea, the 2015 world champion
“Of course I feel the pressure because we made an incredible season last year. I went away after the final round, I had some weeks at home, and then there was the birth of our new baby boy. That gave me some weeks to relax. I needed to find some more deep, extra, motivation to come back and not aim for top three again but defend my position as world champion.
“I started my pre-season preparations earlier than in 2014 or 2015 and I am already in good shape. We have our hands on a new ZX-10R, which I am really excited about. The best way to approach our season is the same step-by-step way as we did in 2015. I am excited to start the season and we do not have to wait too long. I am excited to start, excited to race and to try and defend my championship with the best support in the world.”
Tom Sykes, the 2013 world champion
“I am very excited and motivated. Last year was a setback for me and the guys around me. Having said that, I am very blessed because I have certainly got the best people around me. Come rain or shine, and even on the difficult days, the guys patted me on the back. They know I give 100%. Likewise they always give their best. If you had a difficult season and still finished third in the championship it is also not so bad.
“Kawasaki has given me another fantastic tool; the new 2016 Ninja ZX-10R is absolutely fantastic. It is a bike I am very familiar with. It is a bike that feels almost replicated from our 2012, 2013 and 2014 development. The first laps were very exciting and from there on it just got better. Things have come easier for me and the lap times are already impressive and there is still work to be done. I definitely feel that with big help from the people around me, Kawasaki and all our technical sponsors we have the best chance and best package on the grid. Given the form we have had in recent testing this pre-season I cannot wait for it to begin.”
Mr Shigemi Tanaka, Kawasaki Motors Europe director
“It is an honour to be with KRT once more and joining the chance to share the optimism that only a team launch can create. Here in the home of KRT we have a chance tonight to reflect on past glories and look ahead in anticipation of strong results in the coming season. At KME we are proud of the strong connection we have with KRT and the association between us is apparent on many levels.
“Many of you know that the new Ninja ZX-10R was developed in partnership with KRT and the factory in Akashi, Japan. There will also be some of you who are aware that our KRT riders and both crew chiefs, plus the technicians, attended the recent launch of our new Ninja at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. The theme of that launch was ‘Get Closer’ and today I hope that you have a chance to get closer to KRT and our valued riders, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, who between them they have achieved two world title in the past three years, relying on the support of the whole KRT team valued sponsors and of course the Kawasaki family.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager
“Remembering our first contacts with Kawasaki in 2008 with Steve Guttridge, Pere Riba, Mr. Tamura-San, Mr. Honda-San. We where put in charge of Kawasaki Supersport effort. There was three years of hard work before moving to WorldSBK in 2012. And now we are here, in Barcelona, the city chosen by Kawasaki to unveil the new production Ninja ZX-10R as a way to close ties with the work done at the races with the KRT, which is also based in Barcelona. So, that’s why we want to say thank you for all the confidence and support received from Kawasaki to keep running the KRT project and also to all Japanese engineers that today cannot be here; they are also the soul of this adventure.”
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