In a statement released today, Kawasaki said it had decided to skip the 2023 edition of the event to focus its resources on the World Superbike programme. Additionally, the Japanese marque referred to the way it was defeated by Honda in last year’s race as another factor for its non-participation this year.
In 2019 Kawasaki entered with a factory bike run by the Provec Racing squad who run its WSBK factory team, taking victory with Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu (although the latter did not participate in the race).
After the 2020 and ’21 editions were canceled due to Covid-19, the Kawasaki team returned for 2022 with Rea, Haslam and Alex Lowes splitting riding duties, but the trio were defeated by the team official HRC Honda of Takumi Takahashi, Iker Lecuona and Tetsuta Nagashima.
#10 Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H ,Alex Lowes
Photo by: Jun Goto
Last year Kawasaki WSBK boss Guim Roda had made clear his discontent that his team had been separated from the HRC bike by the safety car, giving the Honda squad a gap they could have maintained to the finish.
Roda appears to refer to this in the statement accompanying Kawasaki’s announcement: “Competing the Suzuka 8 Hours takes time and effort from a large number of people. It could feel similar to Superbike racing – and we also 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.
“Everything is different and everyone needs time to adjust to different technical and performance parameters for this race. Competing at the highest level and having success snatched from your hands is not easy to accept, so we won’t be on the starting grid this year Our goal for 2023 in KRT is now 100% on World Superbike”, concluded Roda.