Kawasaki kicks off quest to reclaim WorldSBK crown with 2022 ZX-10RR launch

Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes are on hand to pull the wraps of the 2022 WorldSBK Kawasaki ZX-10RR they hope will return the team back to title glory

Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki ZX-10RR KRT. 2022 WorldSBK

The Kawasaki Racing Team has become the latest factory-backed team to unveil its contender for the 2022 WorldSBK Championship as Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes bid to recover the long-held titles it lost to Toprak Razgatlioglu and Yamaha in 2021.

While the Kawasaki ZX-10R/RR was the dominant force between 2015 and 2020 in the hands of Rea, his and the manufacturer’s six-year reign as WorldSBK Champions came to a dramatic conclusion last season when he was defeated by Razgatlioglu in a tense and at times mesmerising title tussle.

Indeed, Razgatlioglu’s ascension on the Yamaha marked the first time in those seven years Rea had faced serious opposition to steal his crown, the Ulsterman arguably stepping up his game to repel his former Kawasaki ‘mentee’ but unable to resist him. 

It means Rea and Kawasaki find themselves in the unfamiliar position of taking the fight to the champion, though KRT boss Guim Roda says this reversed role simply gives the team greater motivation for the season ahead.

“After over a decade being so closely connected with this Kawasaki WorldSBK project, and with eight titles in that time, our primary goals are another riders’ championship, plus teams’ and manufacturers’ titles in 2022. 

“Launching the new team livery so close to our base in Granollers allows everyone connected with the team to be involved and it’s a great launch pad for our mission to succeed. 

“Both Johnny and Alex have the potential to win races and chase for championship honours, and we have many dedicated staff who have worked with us for several years. 

“For sure the challenge is big but we have come up with good plans and now our ‘big unveil’ becomes a major public display of our commitment to succeed.”

For Rea, the aims are clear for the year ahead as he looks to build on his record-breaking stats of 112 wins and 215 podiums, while targeting an unprecedented seventh WorldSBK title.

“For me the team launch is always a big step in the process of starting a new season. After six Winter tests we are now ready to put the black and white bikes away. Just like Spring arriving we reveal our new colours telling the world that KRT is fully prepared for 2022. Let’s get the title back.”

Team-mate Lowes, meanwhile, is seeking a blank canvas for the 2022 WorldSBK season after a 2021 campaign blighted by numerous injuries.

“It is my third year inside KRT and I truly feel part of the family so it’s a proud moment to help launch the new team colours confirming our partners and sponsors for 2022. 

“I am fully fit for the start of the season and super motivated. Bring it on.”