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From MCN:

Kawasaki takes bonkers superbike to even wilder new extremes...

KAWASAKI is planning a wild World Superbike for the road, based on its new ZX-10R.

The new ZX-10RR will be the firm’s most extreme road bike ever – with a specification that would shame some MotoGP bikes. Although details have yet to be finalised, Kawasaki engineers told MCN that the new bike could include fly-by-wire throttle, traction control and a big-bang engine.

Even though the new ZX-10R has not yet hit the dealers, the firm is keen to take the concept even further.

In an exclusive interview with MCN, Kawasaki engineer Yasuhisa Okabe said: “We are always looking forward to what is next for Kawasaki. We’re very keen to get new technology on future road bikes and although the ZX-10R has already achieved all the goals we set for it, we are already working on the next bike. If I could spend even more money we would give it lightweight wheels and carbon-fibre bodywork.”

Though Kawasaki would not reveal more exact technical specifications, it’s known that informal talks have already taken place between Okabe and a Japanese Kawasaki MotoGP boss about using big-bang techonology on the current ZX-10R and the RR version set to follow. The new ZX-RR MotoGP bike has already tested in Malaysia with a big-bang firing order and initial impressions suggest this engine will be used in races next year.

With the extra traction the big-bang firing order would bring, along with an estimated 200bhp from the RR’s motor, the ZX-10RR would be the fastest production road bike money could buy. And bosses admit they’ve already worked on fly-by-wire throttles and traction control for the next generation of Kawasaki road bikes.

The chassis is likely to be impressive, too. Traditionally, Kawasaki has used Kayaba suspension on its sports bikes, but Ohlins and Kawasaki are keen to work together more – following the fitment of an Ohlins steering damper as standard on the 2006 ZX-10R.

It’s also likely to use lightweight wheels and carbon fibre bodywork to cut the bike’s weight from the current 185kg to 175kg.

Early tests of the new bike have already taken place at Kawasaki’s Autopolis test track in Japan, but ultimately the future of the project depends on the race success of factory rider Shinya Nakano and PSG-1 Kawasaki WSB riders Chris Walker and Regis Laconi.

Okabe added: “If we have the race success Kawasaki deserves then maybe next year we could see this bike on the road.”

Firm targets 2007 WSB title

ACCORDING to our sources, the biggest reason to upgrade the ZX-10R is because the factory are determined to win the WSB championship by 2007.

MCN’s source said: “The new bike is likely to have fully-adjustable swingarm
pivots and anything else necessary to homologate it for the 2007 series."

“At the moment the bike is missing the ability to move the pivot point to help find traction, reduce the amount of wheelies under power and help overall stability.”

Kawasaki will need to make at least 500 road-going examples of the RR in order to qualify for the WSB championship’s homologation rules.
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