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Jamie Klein

Kawasaki decides against factory Suzuka 8h team for 2023

The Japanese manufacturer said the decision had been made to skip the 2023 running of the event to focus its resources on its World Superbike programme.

It also referenced the manner of its defeat to Honda in last year's race as another factor for its non-participation this year.

Kawasaki entered a full factory bike run by the Provec Racing squad that operates its works WSBK team in 2019, securing victory that year with Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu (although the latter did not appear in the race itself).

After the 2020 and '21 editions were called off due to COVID-19, the works Kawasaki effort returned for 2022 with Rea, Haslam and Alex Lowes sharing riding duties, but the trio were defeated by the factory HRC Honda effort of Takumi Takahashi, Iker Lecuona and Tetsuta Nagashima.

Kawasaki WSBK boss Guim Roda made clear last year his unhappiness at his team's entry being split up from the HRC bike by the safety car, giving the Honda squad a gap it could nurse to the finish.

Roda appears to make reference to this in his statement accompanying Kawasaki's announcement.

“Competing at the Suzuka 8 Hours requires time and commitment from a vast number of people," commented Roda.

"It might look similar to Superbike racing – and we even use Superbike riders like Johnny and Alex  – but this race is like no other and requires its own testing and preparation programme on top of what we already do in WorldSBK.

"Just about everything is different and everyone needs to take time to adapt to different technical and performance parameters for this one race.

"To compete at the highest level and have success snatched from your hands is not easy to adjust to so we will not appear on the grid this year. Our 2023 focus at KRT is now 100 percent [on] WorldSBK."

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