15 June 2009
Kawasaki - WSBK Mid-term report.
Kawasaki rider standings after 7 rounds, 14 races
Broc Parkes, Kawasaki SRT - 18th
Jamie Hacking, Kawasaki SRT - 20th
Sheridan Morais, Kawasaki SRT - 22nd
Luca Scassa, Pedercini Kawasaki - 28th
Matteo Baiocco, PSG-1 Kawasaki - 29th
Makoto Tamada, Kawasaki SRT - 31st
Ayrton Badovini, PSG-1 Kawasaki - N/C
David Salom, Pedercini Kawasaki - N/C
Given the ZX-10R doesn't have the best reputation on the WSBK grid, there have been plenty of green machines – or in the case of PSG-1 blue and white – to watch out for in 2009.
Chief amongst these has been the factory Kawasaki SRT team, which over the winter switched its operation from PSG-1 to Paul Bird Motorsport in a bid to improve its flagging fortunes following a dismal 2008.
Although the team doesn't look to have made particularly impressive inroads into the competition this year, with lead rider Broc Parkes down in 18th in the standings, the team has shown decent flashes of speed at various stages nonetheless.
Parkes has been a staple of the Kawasaki operation this year, often taking the ZX-10R considerably further than any of his counterparts have been able to achieve, particularly in qualifying.
Proving to be a regular scorer, Parkes hasn't been helped much by a shoulder injury, one that forced him to miss Assen altogether, but his performances at Valencia and Miller Motorsports Park have revealed that the Australian spent far too long plying his trade in Supersport when he seems to be very capable on faster machinery as well.
The same, however, cannot be said of team-mate Makoto Tamada, who hasn't reached Superpole once this season and heads into the second half of the season with just two points to his name. Injury, which has ruled him out of eight races so far, hasn't helped but neither have his substitutes Sheridan Morais and Jamie Hacking, which prove what the bike is otherwise capable of.
While both benefitted from local knowledge at Kyalami and Miller Motorsports Park, both performed superbly on new tyres and in an unfamiliar team to score well on each occasion. Hacking was particularly impressive with his run to seventh in Utah, Kawasaki's best result since 2007, and has duly been rewarded with two more outings at Misano and Donington Park.
Elsewhere, Pedercini Kawasaki have spent much of their season on the cusp of the points with Luca Scassa and David Salom. Both have performed admirably so far this year, particularly Italian Superbike champion Scassa who has troubled Superpole on a few occasions and ran inside the points too. Salom remains pointless, but Superpole berths in recent races have represented solid progress for the Supersport graduate.
With its distinctive Republic of San Marino livery, PSG-1 Corse are persevering with the bikes that they struggled with in 2008, but they have at least scored this year courtesy of Matteo Baiocco. However, with the team already down to one rider having been forced to release Ayrton Badovini, it remains to be seen whether or not the team will make it to the end of the season...
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