News & Features

March 25, 2018

Kawasaki confirms official Suzuka 8hr rider line up

Keen to capture success in one of the world’s most prestigious races, Kawasaki has unveiled a formidable rider line up for the motorcycle endurance event that takes place at the famous 5.8km long Suzuka circuit in Japan across the weekend of 28 and 29 July.

With current world superbike champion, Jonathan Rea as one member of an impressive three rider team, the other two spaces are filled by British Superbike championship star, Leon Haslam with rising Asian star Kazuma Watanabe as the final squad member.

As the official Kawasaki Team Green entry, the riders have an enviable track-record in this and other racing classes including three world superbike titles and one Suzuka 8hr win for Rea, two Suzuka 8hr wins and world superbike race wins for Haslam and the Japanese JSB1000 experience for Watanabe.

Aboard the highly regarded Ninja ZX-10RR, the bid for success is underpinned by many laps of testing in preparation for an event which is traditionally very demanding of rider and machine with a high attrition rate as Rea explains.

“Suzuka is the biggest test for man and machine. It’s like an emotional roller coaster during the race and I am very excited to go back this season,” commented the three time world superbike champion.

For Haslam – and his years of Suzuka experience, the race is of great significance commenting that. “Suzuka is very challenging circuit and it really suits the characteristics of the bike itself. Being part of Team Green and riding the ZX-10RR is a dream come true.

Talented Japanese rider Watanabe is understandably optimistic for Suzuka saying. “For this year’s Suzuka 8hr we are fielding our strongest team yet. We will be pushing for the win so be sure to cheer for Team Green”
A win at Suzuka, on their “home soil” has a special significance for Japanese manufacturers and can also act as a springboard for other marketing activities according to the head of the motorcycle marketing department at Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Eiko Kirino.

“There is worldwide interest in the Suzuka 8hr and to achieve success is highly newsworthy across Asia in particular. We wish Kawasaki Team Green well and hope that Jonathan, Leon and Kazuki reach the top step of the podium in July”.