KAWASAKI CHALLENGE HAS BIRD 'DREAMING'...
Following today's announcement that Paul Bird Motorsport will run the official Kawasaki World Superbike Championship Team from 2009, not only is team owner Paul Bird delighted, he has revealed that plans are already at an advanced stage to take up the challenge.
As well as beating many teams to the signature of highly-rated Aussie Broc Parkes, the Cumbrian is in the final stages of building a brand new workshop whereby the team will be based near to his Penrith home.
And whilst the nucleus of his highly-respected and close-knit team will remain, Bird, along with Kawasaki, is planning on complementing his staff with the addition of a number of other team members which will ensure that the bikes are competitive from the word go.
Anyone who knows 'Birdy' will know he doesn't do things by halves and as a former Grand Prix motocross rider and British National rally champion, he is hoping to add to the success of his team in the past which has included two British Superbike titles, numerous TT wins and a double WSB victory amongst many other accolades.
After a successful tenure in British Superbikes up until 2007, Bird made the switch to World Superbikes in 2008 and despite it being their first season, the team wrapped up the privateers' title and very nearly scored a podium finish with Gregorio Lavilla's battling fourth place at Donington Park.
Now both Bird and his team are relishing the challenge ahead whereby they aim to return the Kawasaki brand to the fore.
"It's amazing how far we have come in a short space of time and it's an honour to be representing one of the world's leading manufacturers" said Bird. "I remember watching the likes of Scott Russell and Akira Yanagawa being championship contenders on Kawasakis a few years ago and that is where we need to be again. In Makoto Tamada, we have a rider who has won in MotoGP and WSB and who has lots of experience which will be vital in the early days and they don't come much more motivated than Broc Parkes. For our small team from 'Up North' to be given this opportunity is fantastic and we aim to repay Kawasaki with interest as this is the stuff of dreams."
Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki's European Race Planning Manager, said of the move, "We had many proposals from teams who wanted to run our official effort next year, which underlines our strong belief in our brand, and fills us with confidence that the Ninja ZX-10R has the ability to compete at the front of the pack once again. PBM was chosen to represent us officially because Paul Bird has proved that by putting together a knowledgeable and closely-knit crew, great results can be achieved by working together in a structured way. He's shown this many times in BSB. The team are also very motivated to use the official factory input from Kawasaki in association with their own substantial knowledge and will work closely with the riders, Tamada and Parkes, to get the most from them."
Guttridge continued, "Along with this enthusiasm from the new team there will be an increased testing programme next year, both in the early season and between races. The initial test machines are being created and developed fully at the factory in Japan. This is another step towards full factory Kawasaki commitment to the World Superbike Championship. We expect that the input and feedback between the team and Kawasaki, with regard to both communication and technical evaluation, will help in a correct final development schedule, which will allow the riders and the Ninja ZX10R to step onto the podium next season."