Kawasaki to enter factory team in 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours

The Japanese manufacturer will enter a solo ZX10-RR to be run by Provec Racing, which masterminds its factory WSBK operation, as the much-loved enduro returns for the first time since 2019 following the COVID-19 pandemic.

That year, Kawasaki scored its first Suzuka 8h win since 1993 with Rea, Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu, although the last-named did not ride in the race itself – leading to the Turkish rider’s subsequent defection to Yamaha.

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Lowes is finally set for his first Suzuka 8h as a Kawasaki rider, having been part of the marque’s announced line-ups for both the 2020 and ’21 editions, only for both to end up being cancelled amid the global health crisis.

He has three previous wins in the event to his name, helping Yamaha to success in 2016, ’17 and ’18.

Haslam is likewise a three-time Suzuka winner, as he was part of the winning HARC-Pro Honda line-ups in 2013-14 before notching up a third triumph in 2019 with Kawasaki, when he was Rea’s teammate in WSBK.

After two years as a Honda rider in WSBK – he would have almost certainly represented the marque at Suzuka had the races gone ahead in those years – he has returned to the Kawasaki fold in 2022 with a full-time British Superbike ride and a partial WSBK campaign with the Pedercini team.

Despite his six WSBK titles, Rea is the least-decorated of the Kawasaki trio as far as Suzuka goes, with his only other victory besides his 2019 win coming aboard a TSR Honda in 2012.

Kawasaki is likely to face less factory opposition this year than when it last won the race, as Yamaha is not expected to enter a full works operation in the Suzuka 8h this year.

Yamaha announced ahead of the cancelled 2020 edition that it would be scaling back its involvement in the race, and this year the semi-factory YART squad is likely to be its best hope of success.

The Suzuka 8h will take place on August 7 and serve as the third round of the FIM Endurance World Championship season, following April’s Le Mans 24 Hours Motos and a new 24-hour race at Spa next month.

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