Factory Kawasaki WorldSBK team boss Guim Roda says his team will not be living off the glories of previous seasons and are expecting another scrap to retain both the rider and manufacturer titles in 2017.
Kawasaki have dominated for the past two seasons but at the end of 2016, Ducati and Chaz Davies really gave them pause for thought and changes to the regulations mean Tom Sykes has to get used to another change of engine spec as a generator - which Rea used from Imola onwards - has been added to their crankshaft to bring the ZX-10RR in line with the rest of the grid.
“As you probably know 2016 was a very successful year for us. We achieved all the objectives within our reach. Our riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes topped the first two positions in the overall classification and Kawasaki obtained the Manufacturers’ title for second consecutive year in the World Superbike Championship,” said Roda.
“But, after that nearly perfect season, we’re back to work to challenge again in 2017. Every season needs to start from scratch and there’s no place for old kudos. This is our message for this year and the motto of this team launch.”
Reigning champion Rea has been fast throughout pre-season and Sykes not too far behind but there is still some work to do. “I have been trying my hardest in the winter to adapt to the bike. I would like to arrive strongly in the first round in Australia,” said the former champion.