Kawasaki vs the world
There is just one week to go until the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship kicks off at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, and the question on everyone’s lips is who can beat Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR? A proven match made in heaven, since the Northern Irish rider joined the squad he has been unbeatable taking three world titles in the last three seasons. But there are other riders out on the grid who are hungry for more, wanting to beat the rider with the number one plate. WorldSBK.com takes a look at who could beat the best.
Our first rival is British rider Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who has been without a doubt Rea’s biggest challenger throughout his seasons on top. With a WorldSBK career dating back to 2012 and being crowned WorldSSP champion the season before he has a lot of experience behind him. Working closely on the development of the Panigale R, Davies has been able to adapt the red bike into a race winning machine and it only seems to have been season long consistency that has stood in his way in the past. Putting on a stunning display at the end of the 2016 season by winning seven out of the final eight races, he has proven he’s no part-timer and has the pace and determination to end up on top.
Riders on the blue machines are not to be ignored either, as Dutch rider Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) is certainly one to keep an eye on throughout the 2018 season. 2015 World Supersport world champion and three time Suzuka 8 Hour winner, the 25 year old has demonstrated he is comfortable fighting at the front. Continuing to develop the YZF-R1 throughout 2017, he welcomed podium finishes and more consistent results in the second half of the season, meaning the only way is up for 2018. Positive winter tests and a good understanding of the new rules, Van der Mark will certainly be tracking down the green machines with his Yamaha power.
Changing teams for 2018, Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) is ready for the new challenge and has been impressing everyone throughout the pre-season tests. 31 year old Camier is no stranger to fighting at the front of the field, and he stunned the paddock with his consistent progress on the MV Agusta Reparto Corse throughout 2017. Taking this pace to Honda over the winter, he will no doubt be prepared for a tough fight. With eight seasons of WorldSBK racing experience behind him, Camier will certainly have some work to do in order to get the Honda a regular podium fighter, however once he is comfortable on the CRB1000RR Fireblade SP2 he will be hungry for the taste of Prosecco DOC once more.
Not only will Rea’s rivals be in other garages, it is hard to ignore his number one rival who will be sitting just metres away from the reigning champion in the garage – Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team). Since 2012, the British rider has never finished outside of the top three in the World Championship standings and has always been a strong contender out on track. Racing with arguably the strongest bike on the WorldSBK grid, Sykes is heading into his 10th season with a fresh attitude and he is ready for the fight. Crowned world champion in 2013, he certainly has the experience behind him, and as he continues to recover from a hand injury sustained last September once back to full fitness he will be ready to try to win back the no.1 plate.
Yamaha Finance Australian Round begins on 23rd February, and you won’t want to miss a minute of the action as the WorldSBK grid bring the fight to Jonathan Rea. Follow all the stunning action with the WorldSBK VideoPass.