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