EXCLUSIVE: Kawasaki confirms it has no interest in replacing Suzuki in MotoGP

Kawasaki has confirmed to Crash.net it has no intention of making a return to MotoGP by replacing Suzuki, instead WorldSBK remains the Japanese manufacturer’s ‘more logical way to race’.
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Assen
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Assen

With Suzuki intending to pull out of MotoGP at the end of this season, speculation as to which manufacturer could replace the Hamamatsu-based brand remains a significant talking point. 

Aprilia and Yamaha have been mentioned in the form of a satellite team, but one manufacturer that we can officially rule out from replacing Suzuki is Kawasaki. 

Winners of eight WorldSBK championships since the series began in 1988, six of which have come in the hands of Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki chose to leave MotoGP in 2009 due to financial reasons.

And while rumours have circulated in previous seasons about a possible return, a ‘difficult’ [for a lack of a better word] relationship remains between Kawasaki and those in charge of MotoGP.

But with Kawasaki so often the benchmark in Superbikes, plus the team having Rea, a rider many would agree deserved a chance to compete in the Grand prix paddock, Suzuki withdrawing could have been the perfect opportunity to make a surprising, yet stunning return. 

After speaking to KRT Team Manager Guim Roda, it’s become very evident that such a move is not in Kawasaki’s immediate interest.

Speaking to Crash.net, Roda provided a statement on behalf of Kawasaki, which read: "Regarding Suzuki’s affairs, each company has their own strategies and it would not be correct for me to offer an opinion on their strategy as I do not know all the facts. It’s true that, over the years, life changes and the world evolves, so business and companies need to adapt. In any decision always there’s good and bad points but, as I say, this is Suzuki's business and not ours. 

"I’m sure Suzuki and Dorna will find the best solution for this exit, because everybody loves this racing world. Racing is always a big cost, and companies need to constantly review the reason why to race and justify it very well to make sure it is a good investment and understood by everybody involved. 

Joan Mir, French MotoGP, 14 May
Joan Mir, French MotoGP, 14 May

"From Kawasaki's point of view, years ago, I believe KMC Japan decided to focus on the WorldSBK Championship for some key reasons and still those reasons are relevant."

Selling mass production road bikes trumps MotoGP racing say Kawasaki

"The brand value of the media exposure realised by WorldSBK is very good and it shows Kawasaki’s quality and the serious way of working. At KRT, we feel this helps sell many other models, not just Ninja. Motorcycle is a passion and, by racing, we confirm this passion. KRT tries to share this with all Kawasaki fans in the world. 

"Technically, in WorldSBK we use mass production models, it is more logical to race this way than to make new chassis, engines or aerodynamics every year like in MotoGP. For Kawasaki and KRT it is easier to manage internal resources linking them with R&D and mass production of street bikes than try to make a racing show with bikes final customers cannot buy for street use. 

"At KRT we try our best at every race and every test to improve the package and also energise Kawasaki fans worldwide, whatever machine they ride. I personally believe that is the spirit of Kawasaki racing."

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While a return to MotoGP for Kawasaki would have excited fans all around the world and given us the chance to possibly see Rea battle the likes of reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo, Marc Marquez and Francesco Bagnaia, Suzuki’s replacement is unlikely to come from a manufacturer outside of MotoGP’s current racing brands. 

Kawasaki and Rea currently lead the way regarding WorldSBK wins in 2022 with five, one more than Alvaro Bautista who leads the world championship.

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