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One-on-one with Jonathan Rea | News

“We have developed a sharp knife, but we have to use a blunted one…”

“The Kawasaki racing department works very closely with the production bike department so there is always a link, and the focus of the RR was on its engine’s performance, which was to help our racebikes.

“The WorldSBK regulation changes have seen us lose a lot of engine performance due to the ZX-10R’s rev limit being reduced. We have a lot lower rev limits than our rivals, 14,100rpm compared to 14,700rpm, and so our focus this year was to improve acceleration and top speed using our lower rev limit. We also tried to maintain the manageable feel of our bike, which has good torque characteristics and is a very nice machine to ride.

“The issue with losing revs is that you have to homologate a gearbox at the start of the year. In the past with an open gearbox, we changed internal ratios from track to track, which you can’t now do. With a fixed gearbox and lower rev limit, we have to try and make it work from track to track. We often suffer in terms of acceleration as we have to be quite long with the bike’s gearing. There again, it is strange, as at some circuits when we were weak we are now strong!

“One of the ZX-10R’s main strengths is its chassis, which is very user-friendly so you can brake like an animal and still make the corner, which is a massive advantage over our rivals. It also manages its tyres well and is very easy to ride fast, with good torque. However with the reduced rev limit imposed upon us, it is like we have developed a sharp knife but we can’t use it and instead, have to use a blunted one…”

Jonathan Rea, Czech WSBK 2018