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Kawasaki decides against increasing rev limit of WSBK bike

Kawasaki has elected against taking advantage of the increased rev limit of the ZX-10RR and is waiting for more concessions under the World Superbike Championship rules.

Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK

Ahead of this weekend’s seventh round at Imola, Kawasaki was handed a 250rpm increase, the second time it has received a rev limit boost in the 2023 WSBK season.

The Kawasaki ZX-10RR is now allowed to rev up to 15,100rpm, a jump from 14,600rpm at the start of the season.

However, in a statement issued on Saturday morning at Imola, Kawasaki clarified that it will not be upgrading its bike as per the latest concession rules, suggesting that it will compete in the Italian round of the championship with the same rev limit with which it started the reason.

The Japanese manufacturer said it is awaiting a third concessions bonus in order to introduce the parts it needs to increase the frequency at which its road-based engine revs in WSBK.

It added that the set of items it requested from the FIM under concession rules are the same items that it was not allowed to introduce on its bike back in 2021 in a dispute over what constitutes a ‘redesigned engine’.

Kawasaki had spent the winter break in the run-up to the 2021 season designing the new ZX-10RR bike around a rev limit of 15,100rpm, only to be told it must run at a maximum of 14,600rpm.

At that time the FIM had argued that the “the 2021 Kawasaki ZX-10RR engine received only a limited amount of new components” and as such it was decided that it must run to a “a rev limit based on the performance balancing algorithm following the 2020 season.”

Kawasaki explained that by not increasing the revs of its WSBK challenge at Imola this year it wants to clarify the situation and eliminate “any doubts of the many people not deeply involved in this complex rule, created to help manufacturers improve the performance of their bike during the season.”

Once the dominant force in WSBK, Kawasaki is yet to register a victory this season, with Ducati winning all but two races in 2023 courtesy of runaway championship leader Alvaro Bautista.

Ducati's success has prompted the series to decrease the rev limit of the Panigale V4 R by a further 250rpm, having already cut down its rev by a similar amount ahead of the Barcelona round in May.

However, Ducati's adjusted rev limit of 15,600rpm is still higher than what Kawasaki is allowed under the new rules.

Full Kawasaki statement:

According to point 2.4.3.1 of the FIM rules that define functionality of “Concession and Super Concession” Points - and according to the list of Concession parts allowed 2.4.3.3 c - KRT asked for 250 rpm in the 2 check points (500 rpm in total), after the Motorland race and the Donington race according to the parts nominated in point 2.4.3.3.c.iii in the rule book.

KRT are currently not using those 500rpm and are waiting to introduce at the third check point the items nominated in point 2.4.3.3.c.i

From the beginning of the season, Kawasaki is the manufacturer with less rpm allowed as per how the rules are constructed around mass production machinery. (1,500 rpm less than Ducati for example).

The set of items requested by KRT using concession points, are the same items the FIM did not allow Kawasaki to homologate in the 2021 ZX-10RR iteration due to a difference in interpretation of a “redesigned engine”.

KRT hopes this clarifies the situation and any doubts of the many people not deeply involved in this complex rule, created to help manufacturers improve the performance of their bike during the season.

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