Kawasaki Racing returns with Tom Sykes and Loris Baz in the 2013 World Superbike championship, with sights set on bringing home the first SBK title for Team Green since 1993 when Scott Russell did it on a Muzzy Racing-backed ZXR750.
Now Sykes and Baz have the ZX-10R at their disposal, a machine that reached true competitive maturity in 2012. Sykes brought home four race wins and nine additional podium finishes last year, the best season on record for the Kawi since the bike was introduced to the series. He struggled to maintain a competitive pace for the length of a race early on, but demonstrated the outright speed of the 10R numerous times, earning nine Superpole positions during 2012. His late-season form was good enough to put him within half a point of the title, falling short to Max Biaggi in the final round at Magny-Cours.
Pre-season testing has seen Sykes top the timesheets, as he did in Jerez and Almeria following the 2012 season, and then run into trouble during the recent official tests at Phillip Island, cracking a bone in his left wrist following a crash on Day 1. The following day, cracked bone and all, he came within two-tenths of a second of the fastest lap to finish third, already showing the grit and determination of a champion.
Baz got the chance to step up to the premier-class in 2012, filling in for the injured Joan Lascorz, and earned his first career Superbike race win at Silverstone. He took two additional podiums and ended the season 13th overall. While his potential is promising, a big crash during pre-season testing at Phillip Island shook the French rider’s confidence and may result in a measured pace thorough the opening rounds as he regains feel aboard the mount.
The Pedercini Team will field two ZX-10R riders in the 2013 World Superbike championship as well. Alexander Lundh and Federico Sandi were chosen to ride for the team, both riders coming with some level of prior Superbike experience. Lundh contested the final four races in 2012 with Team Pedercini, though produced lackluster results. Sandi took part in the 2012 round at Misano as a wildcard entry, piloting an S1000RR and finishing 17th.
2013 Kawasaki SBK Roster:
#66 Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team
#76 Loris Baz – Kawasaki Racing Team
#5 Alexander Lundh – Pedercini Team
#23 Federico Sandi – Pedercini Team
Want to get in on the 2013 World Superbike action? Play Motorcycle USA’s Fantasy Superbike for a chance to win prizes like a VIP trip to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and $50 gift cards from Motorcycle-Superstore.com. Get in on the action before it’s too late. Round 1 at Phillip Island is set for February 24th!
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