Kawasaki has confirmed that it will run three factory riders in the 2011 World Superbike Championship.

Tom Sykes will ride alongside Chris Vermeulen and Joan Lascorz at the Paul Bird Motorsports squad, which will be using the all-new Ninja ZX-10R.

Sykes, like Vermeulen, has been retained for the 2011 season and is currently testing at Aragon in Spain.

"It's great to be staying with Kawasaki as a manufacturer and ride for the Paul Bird team again for 2011," said Sykes, who had an impressive end-of-season run with PBM in 2010.

"We have done some good work together this year and exceeded some of our expectations, so it is nice to stay with PBM Kawasaki team in what will be an important year for us all.

"The new bike is already showing massive potential in testing and we have a lot of sessions planned through the winter. Roll on 2011!"

Former MotoGP and WSBK race winner Vermeulen will start his second season with the factory Kawasaki squad after he finishes rehabilitation from reconstructive surgery on his right knee.

"I am working hard to get ready for next year," said Vermeulen. "Kawasaki has been great; they have stood behind me and given me great support. With three riders Kawasaki is keen to move forward and Tom did a great job on the 2010 bike at the end of the year.

"It is all good to see, and I have already had a close look at the new bike. It looks cool and it certainly seems to be working well already. It's exciting and I can't wait to get on the new bike."

Promoted from the Supersport division, rising star Lascorz is preparing himself for his latest challenge, after several successful seasons with Kawasaki in WSS.

"It's my dream to continue my relationship with Kawasaki and now I have the chance to ride in World Superbike, on an exciting new machine," said Lascorz, whose 2010 WSS title hopes were ended by injury at Silverstone.

"I am recovering well from the injuries I picked up in Silverstone and I am looking forward to getting on the Superbike as soon as I can. I want to say thank you to Kawasaki for the help and support and I hope to repay them with good results in my rookie year in WSBK racing."

"I think we have a great mixture of riders, with different backgrounds, different skills, different styles and they will each bring their own approach to the new bike," declared team manager Paul Risbridger.

"I think that will not only help us develop it faster, but it should give us an edge from track-to-track. Sometimes maybe one rider will be the stronger at one circuit, then another rider will be stronger at another circuit, and so on through the year. We are very pleased with the 2011 bike and it has been performing well in testing."

Ichiro Yoda, KME Racing Manager added: "We believe that three riders giving information inside the PBM team will speed up the process of developing the all-new Ninja ZX-10R, and help tune up the new bike's potential very quickly! Then, obviously, we hope to be highly competitive from the very beginning of next season."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment