After winning the event for the first time in 1993 with Scott Russell and Aaron Slight, KRT took victory again in 2019 with a star-studded line-up, led by six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea.

Unable to successfully defend their crown in 2022, Kawasaki were still contenders throughout as they finished second to Team HRC.

Expected to be one of the favourites for victory again in 2023, Kawasaki have instead shifted their ‘100%’ focus into WorldSBK after choosing not to apply for entry. 

A surprising decision given it’s a home race for all the Japanese manufacturers, and one that subsequently means more than any other, Kawasaki’s decision not to race came down to the time and effort that’s needed when racing at the Suzuka 8 hours

A statement from KRT said: "Competing at the Suzuka 8hr requires time and commitment from a vast number of people. It might look similar to Superbike racing – and we even use Superbike riders like Johnny and Alex - but this race is like no other and requires its own testing and preparation programme on top of what we already do in WorldSBK. 

"Just about everything is different and everyone needs to take time to adapt to different technical and performance parameters for this one race. 

"To compete at the highest level and have success snatched from your hands is not easy to adjust to so we will not appear on the grid this year. 

"Our 2023 focus at KRT is now 100% WorldSBK . We wish all competitors and teams involved in the 2023 race an exciting and safe event."

Both Rea and Alex Lowes have enjoyed plenty of success at the Suzuka 8 hours, but with Kawasaki in the midst of a very challenging 2023 WorldSBK campaign, shifting their focus towards delivering a bike good enough to fight the likes of Ducati and Yamaha has become too important.

Rea is yet to win a race while also accumulating his lowest podium total through the opening 12 races since joining Kawasaki in 2015.