Next weekends Pacific Grand Prix will see the debut of the fifth four-stroke motorcycle in the MotoGP World Championship.

Kawasaki will unleash its Ninja ZX-PR machine at the hands of Akira Yanagawa, who has carried development work through from initial private tests last winter to competitive action in the All Japan series.

On the back of recent announcements made by Ducati regarding their plans for next season, the MotoGP four-stroke revolution continues to gather momentum with the arrival of Kawasaki, who have the benefit of nine years previous Grand Prix experience.

The Japanese factory contested the premier category of World Championship competition in two periods, firstly from 1970 to 1975, when Ginger Molloy finished runner-up in their first season.

Dave Simmonds took victory at Jarama one year later to finish the series in fourth place overall whilst Mick Grant clinched the Tourist Trophy in 1975. The second chapter of Kawasaki's 500cc experience came in a two year period at the start of the eighties. Kork Ballington was unable to add to their catalogue of victories but he did take two third place finishes in 1981.

The debut of the Ninja ZX-PR at the Pacific Grand Prix marks the start of a third era amongst the elite of motorcycle racing for Kawasaki, who have opted for a in-line four cylinder configuration.

Seven constructors will line up on the MotoGP grid in 2003, with Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Aprilia, Ducati, Proton and Kawasaki all having made their commitment to a four-stroke future.


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