“We have de­vel­oped a sharp knife, but we have to use a blunted one…”

Fast Bikes - - LAUNCH -

“The Kawasaki rac­ing de­part­ment works very closely with the pro­duc­tion bike de­part­ment, so there is al­ways a link and the fo­cus of the RR was on its en­gine’s per­for­mance, which was to help our race bikes.

“The WSB reg­u­la­tion changes have seen us lose a lot of en­gine per­for­mance due to the ZX-10R’s rev limit be­ing re­duced. We have a lot lower rev limit than our ri­vals, 14,100rpm com­pared to 14,700rpm, and so our fo­cus this year was to im­prove ac­cel­er­a­tion and top speed us­ing our lower rev limit. We also tried to main­tain the man­age­able feel of our bike, which has good torque char­ac­ter­is­tics and is a very nice ma­chine to ride.

“The is­sue with los­ing revs is that you have to ho­molo­gate a gear­box at the start of the year. In the past, with an open gear­box, we changed in­ter­nal ra­tios from track to track, which you can’t now do.

“With a fixed gear­box and lower rev limit we have to try and make it work from track to track and when you have more than four gear changes per lap you also suf­fer in terms of ac­cel­er­a­tion, as we have to be quite long with the bike’s gear­ing. There again, it is strange, as at some cir­cuits when we were weak, we are now strong!

“The first time I rode the ZX-10R, hav­ing swapped from my pre­vi­ous team, I was very im­pressed by its sta­bil­ity and the amount of feed­back it gives – over­all it’s an amaz­ing pack­age. One of its main strengths is its chas­sis, which is very user-friendly, so you can brake like an an­i­mal and still make the cor­ner, which is a mas­sive ad­van­tage over our ri­vals. It also man­ages its tyres well and is very easy to ride fast with good torque. How­ever, with the re­duced rev limit im­posed upon us it is like we have de­vel­oped a sharp knife but we can’t use it and in­stead have to use a blunted one…”

Rea’s buzzing about the ex­tra revs.

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