Kawasaki reiterates it has no desire to return to MotoGP

Kawasaki insists its dominant success in WorldSBK won't be inspiring it to consider a switch to 'too expensive' MotoGP any time soon

John Hopkins - Kawasaki Racing ZX-RR

Kawasaki bosses have reiterated that the manufacturer has no designs on returning to the MotoGP World Championship despite having established itself as the dominance force in the WorldSBK Championship.

The Japanese firm competed in MotoGP between 2002 and 2008, achieving modest success with three recorded podiums during that time. It withdrew ahead of the 2009 season citing pressures stemming from the global financial crisis.

Despite this, Kawasaki maintained its presence in WorldSBK and siphoned resources towards it, leading to a significant upturn in performance during the 2010s that culminated in Tom Sykes winning the 2013 title before Jonathan Rea reeled off five consecutive championships between 2015 and 2019.

This success, coupled with Aprilia and KTM’s move into the grand prix premier class, has frequently raised questions over whether Kawasaki would consider returning to MotoGP once more.

However, Kawasaki’s Ichiro Yoda told Speedweek the sheer outlay of MotoGP – which he says is ten times more than WorldSBK – cannot justify the added exposure, especially if it isn’t able to win races.

“MotoGP is too expensive for Kawasaki - it is a financial decision on our part. MotoGP costs at least ten times more than SBK. For MotoGP, you need 60 or 70 million euros per year, Honda spends 100 million. 

“In addition, we cannot convince Kawasaki's senior management for fifth place in the MotoGP World Championship. You expect wins, regardless of the category. This is why the Superbike World Championship makes more sense for Kawasaki from a financial point of view.”

Kawasaki ZX-10RR chief developer Yoshimoto Matsuda adds: "MotoGP is not the right path for us. You have to think about what MotoGP requires from you, what technology it takes. And what it brings you. If we take all that into account, MotoGP is not our choice."

Kawasaki isn’t the only manufacturer that shies away from MotoGP, with BMW repeatedly stating it has no intention to graduate to the premier league because of the costs involved.

Indeed, unlike its Japanese rivals, Kawasaki’s grand prix endeavours don’t stretch back decades, while even the more recent entrants – Aprilia and KTM – had a presence in the feeder categories for a long time before ultimately making the switch to MotoGP.