Kawasaki announced it will enter a factory-backed EVO-category entry for the 2014 World Superbike Championship. Kawasaki has signed David Salom to ride the EVO Ninja ZX-10R. The team will be run by the same operation behind the non-EVO factory team of Loris Baz and reigning WSBK Champion Tom Sykes, forming a three-rider Kawasaki factory lineup.
As one of WSBK’s new cost-cutting EVO entries, Salom’s ZX-10R can have Superbike-quality chassis, suspension and brakes but the engine and electronics are restricted to Superstock-level specifications. Having a third bike running EVO rules this season will help Kawasaki prepare for the 2015 season where all WSBK machines will have to met the EVO specifications.
“It is a project for one year, preparing for the 2015 season in the best way possible,” says Guim Roda. Kawasaki Racing Team manager. “It will be an opportunity to develop the bike to maximize the good level of performance the Ninja ZX-10R already has as part of its overall design. We have created a very nice team with Toni Alfosea as the Chief Mechanic and another three mechanics led by Cedric Veron, who is very experienced. All KRT staff will be involved in this project, so for sure it will be a third KRT bike on the grid, pushing the full SBK class ones.”
Salom has already been testing the EVO Ninja ZX-10R, riding at Spain’s Jerez, Aragon and Almeria circuits. He will join Sykes and Baz at Jerez in more tests at Jerez and Australia’s Phillip Island circuits.
“I am not sure what we can achieve in terms of race results this year but we have tested the bike at Motorland Aragon, Jerez and Almeria and the lap times have been very good,” says Salom. “I think we can fight at the front of the EVO class but even more important is the positive development of the machine. The Kawasaki is a very good bike to start with in the Evo class, as all aspects of it work well. We have not changed many parts so far but we have still posted fast lap times.”