MotoGP

Kawasaki asks Dorna CEO for MotoGP wildcard

An interview reveals that Kawasaki approached MotoGP organisers with the view to entering MotoGP as a wildcard with their superbike team

KAWASAKI is reported to have had a MotoGP wildcard entry at an event declined by MotoGP and WSBK supremo Carmelo Ezpeleta.

The news comes after Ezpeleta confirmed in an interview with GPOne in which he confirmed the question was raised and quickly quashed. He said, “Kawasaki asked me for the possibility of doing wildcard with their Superbike. I replied no, because wildcards are reserved for those who participate in MotoGP.”

In the interview, the Dorna CEO went on to explain how he felt WSBK fitted into the grand scheme of the things by saying, “I went to the SBK paddock and said clearly that they were second division”.

Kawasaki exited MotoGP ahead of the 2009 season citing pressures prompted by the global financial crisis but in lieu siphoned resources towards its WorldSBK effort which at the time was struggling compared with its factory-backed rivals. It proved a shrewd move with Tom Sykes winning its first title in 20 years in 2013 before Jonathan Rea reeled off five consecutive titles between 2015 and 2019.

Despite this success, Kawasaki has repeatedly resisted the temptation to return to MotoGP, describing it as ten times more expensive than its WorldSBK effort with no guarantees of success.

However, this revelation from Ezpeleta suggests Kawasaki has been considering the prospect of taking an adapted version of its ZX-10RR all the way to MotoGP, though its unclear how it would attempt to do this not least because MotoGP uses Michelin tyres compared with WorldSBK's Pirelli rubber. Kawasaki did have a minor presence in MotoGP during the CRT era when its engines were used by the Avintia team, while at the time rival ART bikes were ultimately prototype adaptations of the Aprilia RSV4.

Ezpeleta doesn't say which event Kawasaki wanted to wildcard in though a performance at Motegi would be plausible given there is still no Japanese event on the WorldSBK calendar. Of the 13 events on the WorldSBK calendar, MotoGP visited seven of them last season.

As a reference, Rea's Superpole lap during the Jerez round was a 1m 38.247, which would have placed him 19th on the 24-strong grid. Fabio Quartararo's pole winning lap was a 1m 36.880s

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