The news isn’t some pie-in-the-sky either, this has come directly from the big boss himself.
Speaking to Speedweek.com, Kawasaki’s Race Director Ichiro Yoda admitted that the green team was chasing its tail in WSB, trying to peg back the all-conquering Ducati of Alvaro Bautista.
For the past four years WSB has been the dominant shooting ground of Kawasaki with Jonathan Rea crowned as World Champion from 2015 to 2018. So far this season however, it’s been Bautista and the red bike that has won all 11 races (a new record in the championship) – with it’s 16,350rpm rev limit and MotoGP-derived tech, the Ducati V4 R has smashed its way to the top of the timesheets.
Kawasaki has found itself very much a runner-up to the Panigale and Yoda is clearly smarting at the experience. The Kawasaki race boss admits that if Ducati are still able to run with the bike next year (if WSB bosses don’t put restrictions on Ducati for 2020 to level the playing field, from a performance point of view) then Kawasaki will have to take matters into its own hands – and that will mean making something very special to take on the Panigale on its own MotoGP-type terms.
The FIM has already reduced the rev-limit of the Ducati by 250revs whilst giving the Honda in the competition an extra 500revs to try and make things a bit more competitive – so it’s not a done deal that the Ducati will be able to stay in the incredibly-fast trim that it has been so far in 2019.
Yoda told Speedweek: “Getting near to Ducati this season is difficult. Their engine comes from the MotoGP world championship, the whole package is from MotoGP.
“The V4 R is a MotoGP bike with Pirelli tyres. Even if we were authorised to use the parts under concession, we would be limited, we would still not be able to achieve the performance of Ducati.
“The only solution is to build a bike similar to MotoGP. An extreme bike to be produced in limited numbers. For Kawasaki it is easy to build 500 of these bikes.
“WSB’s philosophy has always been to use production bikes to try to lower costs but with the arrival of the V4 R, everything has changed.
“Now is the time for us to dedicate ourselves to designing an extreme WSB machine!
“We have a lot of experience in MotoGP and with powerful four-cylinder engines, it shouldn’t be complicated for us to do it. If Ducati continues with this bike next season, we need a bike like this to beat them. We are not in WSB just to be here!”