Kawasaki is getting some World Superbike (WSBK) racers to go on track for eight hours on the legendary Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
Kawasaki's win record for the event stands at just one. The Japanese brand has only ever won once, and that was just once with the Kawasaki Race Team (KRT) ZX-10RR. The riders fielded at the time were Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam. Toprak Razgatlioglu was unable to join the duo at the event, but he was still part of the winner's circle in KRT.
Race officials canceled the event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kawasaki wants to continue its winning streak, even if there was a bit of a gap year.
KRT will field the new 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR, and the team will be under the guidance of Provec, the same company that manages the green team's WSBK efforts.
Riders on the new race-spec Ninja will be Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes, and Lucas Mahias.
Rea went on record stating: “I am so excited that I will be part of KRT and Kawasaki factory taking part in the 2021 Suzuka 8 Hour race. I’ve been on the podium four times now at Suzuka, and my fondest memory was winning the race for Kawasaki in 2019. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do the race in 2020 due to the global pandemic going on, but we’ll be back in 2021 and I promise I will be making my best efforts to do the best for Kawasaki and all our fans.”
Alex Lowes, Rea's teammate in the WSBK, also chimed in on the development: “I’m delighted that I’ll be part of the KRT Kawasaki factory racing team for the 2021 Suzuka 8 Hours. Already I’ve been on the winning team three times at Suzuka. It’s a fantastic event and a really great circuit – one of my favorites. Now I’ll have the chance to push for a Kawasaki win on the latest Ninja ZX-10RR. I’m really looking forward to being part of this famous race again. We have a great team, and the Ninja is an amazing machine.”
Finally, Lucas Mahias is looking forward to racing in the endurance event, and he had this to say:
“I’m happy that I will be part of the KRT Kawasaki factory team taking part in the 2021 Suzuka 8 Hour race. Racing in Japan is always very special, and Suzuka 8 Hours is a world-famous race. It is so good to return to Suzuka after the 2020 pandemic. For all the Kawasaki fans, I promise that we will make the best preparations, and I will do my best to be part of the winning team at Suzuka.”
Kawasaki brought back one-half of their winning duo in 2019. Jonathan Rea will make another appearance for KRT on the endurance circuit. Alex Lowes will participate with Rea, and Lucas Mahias will bring in some additional endurance racing experience to hopefully snag Kawasaki that fabled second victory.