Kawasaki's season got off to an inauspicious start after Chris Vermeulen ruled himself out of action with two accidents, the latter leaving him particularly battered and bruised. On the plus side, both he and Tom Sykes showed a step forward in Australia, indicating top ten results are on the way for the plucky Paul Bird helmed team.
Beyond the factory representatives, Portimao will see two familiar faces back in the paddock, as well as the introduction of an all-new team.
Former Kawasaki men Sheridan Morais and Makoto Tamada
return after being snapped up to substitute at Echo CRS Honda and Reitwagen BMW respectively, the former replacing the still-injured Broc Parkes, while the latter takes the place of the sidelined Roland Resch.
Meanwhile, Ducati's representation will rise to seven with the debut of the new Supersonic Racing Team, which will hit the track for the first time with former Pedercini Kawasaki man Luca Scassa.