The WorldSBK team will once again run the factory Kawasaki team for this year’s Suzuka 8 Hour, as they eye back-to-back wins
The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK will be the team in charge of leading the factory Kawasaki effort at this year’s Suzuka 8 Hour Endurance World Championship race in Japan. Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes will be joined by Leon Haslam as the three Brits will go in search of making it back-to-back wins in the prestigious race. All three are race winners before and will want to repeat their achievements from years gone by. The Provec Racing outfit, which runs the factory Kawasaki effort in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, will be the team behind it with Guim Roda as team manager.
Talking about the race and getting back to the iconic Suzuka circuit, Jonathan Rea said: “I am so excited to go back to Japan. Understandably, Kawasaki has always had such a great support out there. We won the race 3 years ago. Kawasaki was understandably keen to defend the title and especially to continue the positive exposure WorldSBK is delivering to Kawasaki currently while extending that positivity to the 8h and Japan.
“Due to Covid we weren’t able to return until now. I always feel really appreciated by the Japanese fans. The atmosphere is incredible and I am really looking forward to going back. I think the target heading back to Suzuka is to win. We won there before and this season I feel, with Alex and Leon inside the team, we have a lot of experience together with the Ninja ZX-10RR. I am really excited to go back and see what we can do. We are going with a huge effort, lots of testing, taking the event seriously with a strong rider line up and a team with a lot more experience. I feel the minimum we can do is compete for the podium, but of course in Endurance racing everything can go right, everything can go wrong. We have to be very calm, mature, and do our best, lap-by-lap.”
WorldSBK teammate Alex Lowes also gave his thoughts about getting back to the event, although for the first time with Kawasaki: “It is a race that I have had some success with in the past. I am really happy to be going back there with Kawasaki for the first time. To be paired with Jonathan, who won last time he was there, is fantastic. Obviously, I am a good friend of Leon’s away from the track so it will be nice to be in the same team as him too. I share the garage with Johnny every weekend and he obviously is a reigning champion at Suzuka because we have missed a couple of years. I have won the event three times, so I think we have a pretty good team, a strong team, and I am looking forward to seeing how we get on all together. With the test schedule Kawasaki has created we know how focused they are on this race. As the race comes back on the calendar in 2022, they want to win and we are going there to do our best to achieve another victory. Let’s see if we can hit our target.
Part of the winning team in 2019 for Kawasaki, Leon Haslam likewise aims for a successful return: “For me, to go back to the Suzuka 8 Hours is fantastic. I have had a lot of success there and managed to win it three times. Johnny and I won it back 2019, the last time it was run, so to go back in 2022 I have really high expectations. To be teamed back up with Johnny and also Alex, who was our main rival in 2019 - I think we have the dream team. I am super-excited and can’t wait to get going. The goal for 2022 at Suzuka obviously is to win, and to get back-to-back wins for Kawasaki.”
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, shared his thoughts on the event too, as well as stating how proud he was to be part of the operation once again: “We are so proud to assist in this race and Kawasaki asked us to fully support this Suzuka 8 Hours activity, similar as we did in 2019 when was supporting Team Green and KHI Engineers. We are going to make one step more and bring the team’s Superbikes there at 100% to try to take the victory again. We will see how we work in the next test and make our best steps. It will be a combination of the KRT WorldSBK staff and the Japanese engineers.
“They have good experience in the 8 Hours and will be supporting us in many areas. It is a very important race for Japan as a country, and the market in Japan, and we are very proud to be there to support this race. But we feel for the fans all over the world, 8h race, is a very iconic one too. For KRT and Kawasaki it is a very important event because it represents the spirit of the sport in Japan. I know Kawasaki is willing to make a good job there, try to battle against other manufacturers and give a good show. In the end it is like a big show, a big party of motorcycling in Japan. Kawasaki is so committed to this activity. We are going to try to make all our best there and bring the trophy back to Kawasaki again.”
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