Kawasaki stung by rev limit regulation u-turn on eve of 2021 WorldSBK opener

Kawasaki is forced to make a change to the new ZX-10RR's engine on the eve of the opening 2021 WorldSBK Championship round in Aragon

Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK 2021

Kawasaki received a frustrating surprise just hours before officially kicking off the 2021 WorldSBK Championship at Motorland Aragon after the FIM refused to tweak its rev limit allowance.

Defending champions KRT - together with the Puccetti, Pedercini and Orelac privateer entries - arrived in Spain having spent the entire winter testing with a 15,100 rev limit allowance on the new 2021 Kawasaki ZX-10RR, up from the 14,600rpm of the succeeded model.

However, in what is a clear indictment that Kawasaki has adopted an evolutionary approach in designing the latest generation Ninja, the FIM determined not enough parts had been changed from the previous homologated entry.

Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja and ZX10RR (2021) Review | Jonathan Rea WorldSBK For the Road Tested

As such, having spent months fine-tuning the ZX-10RR in one philosophy, Kawasaki finds itself having to rethink its settings in the midst of weekend battle.

Despite the setback, six-time World Champion Jonathan Rea was in an upbeat  mood after securing fifth place in free practice.

“First day at ‘school’ but not the same nerves as a Phillip Island build up to round one. Aragon is quite a usual track for us because we do a lot of testing here. It is just nice to get underway. 

“We are trying not to get too carried away because on Saturday it seems like the temperature is going to drop a little bit. That window of five or ten degrees is huge. For day one I feel OK on the bike but I think there is a lot to improve for these kinds of conditions.”

How important is this eleventh hour change?

Kawasaki should be able to take this change in its stride, in part because if the engine really isn’t all that different to the outgoing model’s, then the riders will know what to expect when the needle bounces at the top of the rev range at the same point.

That said, a change to the limits four rounds into the 2019 WorldSBK season is often identified as a factor in Ducati’s slump in form compared with its explosive 11-race winning streak  Then again, could that explain why Alvaro Bautista spent much of the season’s econd half on the deck 

It is also somewhat arbitrary of the FIM to level this particular change on the eve of the championship. While evolving development programmes mean homologation can only come late in the day, it’s surprising it has waited until FP1 in Aragon to lay down the law.

Will it affect Rea? Can anything…?