From the Blog

It’s not easy being green…with apologies to Jim Henson.

It’s not exactly been salad days for Kawasaki in road racing of late. Their diabolical MotoGP bike did its best to end the careers of almost every rider who tried to ride it (and, in some cases succeeded), culminating in an humiliation departure from the class altogether at the end of 2009. And its WSBK effort hasn’t really set the world alight either. In fact, if you want to relive the glory days of Kawasaki in WSBK, you have to go all the way back to Scott Russell and the Muzzy Kawasaki (a quasi-factory effort) in 1993 for their last (and only) title.

Here’s Scott tailing Eddie Lawson. By the way, have you ever noticed the marked similarity in riding style between Russell and Colin Edwards?

But things may be about to look up. As reported previously, Kawasaki’s racing effort, freed from the albatross of trying to compete in MotoGP, is picking up and, while their WSBK efforts with Tom Sykes and Chris Vermeulen this year have been anything but stellar, all Team Green fans are hanging out for 2011 and the radical new ZX-10R which the factory predicts will catapult them to the top of the tree again. CV has seen the bike in testing in Japan. He hasn’t said that he’s RIDDEN it, but he probably wouldn’t be allowed to say anyway. It seems unlikely that they wouldn’t have him riding it since he’ll be using it next year, but testing bans and limits being what they are, they’re probably being super careful. Chris is very enthusiastic about what he’s seen so far and can’t wait (according to him) for 2011. If I was riding the dog of a thing that he’s on at the moment and constantly propping up the back of the field as he is, I’d be enthusiastic too!

Now the first actual details of the bike are emerging (although only in terms of styling at the moment – I predict that we will get a “timed release” release of technical information culminating in the bike’s launch at the end-of -year bike show circuit.)

Of course this doesn’t really tell you anything, it’s more of a “teaser” than anything, BUT, it IS from the factory, not the usual MCN Photoshop, “this-is-what-our-artist-thinks-it-may-look-like” effort. The styling is aggressive and certainly more pleasing than the Origami designs that have plagued the ZX-10R for its last few iterations. The exhaust is noticeably small, leading me to believe that the cat and other associated gubbins are hidden under the engine and out of sight. I sure hope so, as motorcycle exhausts these days are setting new standards of ugliness (Kawasaki Z1000 and Honda VFR2100F being two notable examples).

Typical sportsbike “hunched forward” styling is what we’d expect and the aerodynamic front mudgurad looks like it’s there for much more than spray protection. Elsewhere I’ve detailed some of the hinted technical specs (big-bang engine, possible unusual engine placement, advanced electronics, etc) but there is every chance that followers of Team Green might just be able to drag their green T shirts out of the back of the drawer and wear them with pride come 2011. I certainly hope so. They are way overdue their day in the sun.