Kawasaki unveiled its official 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship machinery and graphics at the team launch today, shortly before the opening round at Phillip Island takes place between the 22nd and the 24th of February. Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ effort will once again field record-breaking four-time champion Jonathan Rea aboard the latest race specification Ninja ZX-10RR, Joining him is new signing for the new season, Leon Haslam.
The new season livery and sponsor line-up was confirmed as the covers came off the Ninja ZX-10RR, with Motocard, Elf Total, Monster Energy and Showa logos prominently displayed, alongside other valued commercial and technical partners.
Having won four straight championships for rider Jonathan Rea, Manufacturer Kawasaki and team Provec Racing, the overall Kawasaki heavy Industries WorldSBK effort is determined to meet the challenge of maintaining its high standards.
In launching its final line-up and image in Australia this year, rather than at their home base in Barcelona as in previous seasons, KRT has already put a fresh spin on its approach as the excitement builds towards another new season at the highest level of production-derived racing.
Mr Shigemi Tanaka, Managing Director of Kawasaki Motors Australia, led the speakers on the night as the latest product of KHI’s passion for racing was unveiled to a waiting world, both on site and to the world through live streaming via the Internet.
With winter testing ended in Europe at the end of January, there will now be two days of official tests for all WorldSBK competitors, at Phillip Island between Monday the 18th and Tuesday the 19th of February. With a new format to race weekend in 2019, featuring three WorldSBK races and not two, the first round of the new season will be truly historic even before it wraps up on Sunday the 24th of February.
Jonathan Rea, champion for the past four seasons, stated: “KRT always push the boat out when it comes to launching the new colours and it is the first time you see your final bike in the flesh. Everything is real and now we turn the page to 2019. Alpinestars have done a great job with my leathers as well. I changed my number 1 plate a little bit too, incorporating some new logos. It is nice to do the launch here in Australia, and so close to the first race weekend.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “To be part of such a professional team, and to see the manufacturer itself and Kawasaki Australia putting on such a massive show, is fantastic. They are really getting behind it. I just want to get going now. The launch and all the things around it are exciting but now I just want to get on track to ride the new bike.”
Mr Shigemi Tanaka, Managing Director of Kawasaki Motors Australia, stated: “It is indeed an honour to have the unveiling of the 2019 Kawasaki Racing Team here at Phillip Island and for Kawasaki Motors Australia to be hosting this important event. Three times in the past it has been my pleasure to speak at these launch events on behalf of both Kawasaki Motors Europe and Kawasaki Heavy industries. Now with Jonathan Rea as a four-time world champion on the Ninja ZX-10RR it is a nice coincidence that this is now my fourth time to speak, this time on behalf of Kawasaki Motors Australia and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The theme today is Ganbarou – we will face our challenges and try harder. In 1995 a devastating earthquake hit Kobe, close to the Kawasaki manufacturing plant in Akashi. It was a difficult time but we said “Ganbarou” – we will face our challenges with a smile and we will rebuild we will try harder and do our best. For the Kawasaki Racing Team 2018 was one of our most difficult years so far. We were under huge pressure. The fans and media naturally expected more championship success, yet our Ninja ZX-10RR was a victim of its own success as new rules were adopted to help other teams reach the high level of Kawasaki. Our Ninja Spirit – and the dedication of the team, loyal fans and riders – saw us prevail with a fourth consecutive world title for Jonathan Rea plus another manufacturer and team title. This is the racing definition of Ganbarou – we will compete and, whatever the circumstances, we will try our best.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated : “Last year we faced the challenge of new technical rules that we feel constrained our performances. Nevertheless, we succeeded in winning the Riders’, Manufacturers’ and Teams’ world titles in a very successful year. For this year these rules are still maintained but we’re prepared. We have a bike with a new more capable engine and we have reinforced our technical and human assets to take advantage of this. We also welcome a new rider in Leon Haslam, who has been making big steps in the Winter Tests. We think makes a great pairing with Jonathan Rea, who has offered us so much in all terms. At KRT we think riders are the spearhead of our effort. All the team is geared towards bringing them the best weapons because, once the lights go out, it’s all in their hands. They are the magicians that make dreams possible. Together, we’ll do our best.”
Biel Roda, KRT’s Marketing and PR Director, stated: “The support of our main partners has been crucial. Showa now joins our main partners list along with Monster Energy, Elf and Motocard. Motocard has been supporting Provec Racing since the very first days, back in 2006. It is, one of the biggest online shops for motorcycling gear in Europe and they have always funded the sport. The same goes for Elf: you all know the large racing heritage of this lubricant brand, which has very strong commercial ties with Kawasaki and supply us with magnificent products to increase our performance since the very beginning of the KRT adventure in Superbike racing. Monster Energy joined us in 2015, you all know Monster, more than just an energy drink, it’s a lifestyle; thanks also for making us part of this cool attitude to racing.”
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