Kawasaki has announced they will put their factory resources into an all-new World Supersport team in 2009 after ending their collaboration with Gil Motorsport.
The Provec Motocard.com Kawasaki team will take the place of the French concern in 2009 as they attempt to kick start an improvement in form following a season that has seen them struggle to compete against Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Triumph.
The team will be overseen by former rider Pere Riba, who will also assume testing duties, while it has been confirmed that multiple WSS race winner Katsuaki Fujiwara and 2008 standout Joan Lascorz will form a coveted rider line-up.
Lascorz, who lies fifth overall heading to the final round in Portugal this weekend, brings Motocard.com sponsorship from the Glaner Honda team he has raced with this year.
“It's an exciting opportunity to put our new Ninja ZX6-R back onto the podium next year,” said Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki's European race planning manager. “The team is set to work to a strict testing schedule with Fujiwara using the results of Pere's production based testing in association with Showa as an important starting point for the new Provec Racing team.
“I'm sure that thanks to these new initiatives we will see better results for Kawasaki next season, especially with the new potential from Joan Lascorz in the fiercely competitive WSS category.”
“It's been nice to work with this professional team during this season and it's unfortunate to see them moving on,” he added. “Team owner Mr Ponsson has worked hard for Kawasaki during three years of collaboration and always wanted to give us the best results possible in this highly competitive category. We wish him and the individuals within the GIL Motorsport team the best of luck with their future projects.”
Kawasaki have endured a torrid WSS season, with Chris Walker still their best placed rider in 16th position overall despite quitting Gil Motorsport four races ago. Fujiwara is 20th in the standings, while Brit Chris Martin has shown well as Walker's replacement.
Meanwhile, Kawasaki's status in World Superbikes is also in a state of flux as they head into the off-season as the only factory team yet to confirm any riders for next year. Indeed, it isn't clear whether PSG-1 Corse will remain their primary outfit with rumours suggesting DFX Corse have been in talks about taking their place.