MSS Colchester Kawasaki have revealed that they will debut their 2012-spec Ninja ZX-10R in this weekend's 2011 British Superbike Championship 'Showdown' curtain-raiser at Donington Park, taking advantage of being out of the title fight to try to steal an early march on their rivals ahead of next season.
The team will run the bike – specially-developed under the newly-announced 2012 regulations, introduced to keep costs and rider aids under control, restrict engine-tuning and ensure that all teams run a control ECU unit – for Gary Mason at Donington, Silverstone and Brands Hatch, and MSS Colchester Kawasaki team boss Nick Morgan admits he cannot wait to see how the package performs.
“These new rules have been brought in for 2012 to 2015, and are a major change to the spec of the bikes,” he explained. “We're looking to hit the ground running next year, and where better to test and develop than at the races? Winter testing is always hit-and-miss, plus you never get to use the right tracks, so this is ideal – and Donington is a track we love as a team.
“We've chosen Gary to spearhead this development, because he's proved in both the wet and dry he has great throttle control, has had two years with the team and obviously knows the new ZX-10R inside-out – all of which will help with the new ECU. It's obviously very early days, but we know the chassis is great, the rider is focussed and we have some top technicians, so I don't see why we can't have a proper go at this!”
Mason sits eighth in the points standings following the most recent BSB outing at Cadwell Park, and he acknowledged that he is eager to get out on-track and 'get in amongst them' on his new mount.
“This season is already over in terms of the championship,” the 32-year-old reflected, “so it's exciting to be looking at 2012 already. Testing is fine, but you can't beat race data. There's a bit of an unknown feeling; for example, I'll be looking at a new dash and it's going to be a bit weird using a clutch again! I really believe I can get in amongst them, though, and show people what I can do on a bike that needs more throttle control.”
Mason will be joined at MSS Colchester Kawasaki this weekend by Ian Lowry, with Morgan conceding that the Ulsterman 'will certainly have a few points to prove'.
“I'm really looking forward to getting to Donington, as it's my favourite circuit,” the 25-year-old enthused. “This is the start of the Showdown, so the top six are fighting for the championship and everybody outside this is fighting for seventh place, but the reality is I want to be battling with the top guys and throw a few spanners in the works. I'm feeling pretty good at the moment, and got a good few miles done on the pushbike over the past two weeks. This week has been pretty mental at work, so I'll be glad to get away for the weekend!”