Entering 2021 with a six year championship winning streak, World Superbike (WSBK) champion Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) start shakedown testing in Jerez, Spain, this week. Riding a much revised and revamped Kawasaki ZX-10RR, Rea and crew are looking for “performance improvements and new approaches to overall race competitiveness.”

Also testing with Rea is KRT team mate Sam Lowes, who previously raced in Moto 2. Joining KRT on the track putting the ZX-10R through the paces are Spanish superbike teams Outdo TPR with rider Loris Cresson and Orelac VerdNatura Racing with Isaac Vinales, cousin to Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales.

The 2021 Kawasaki ZX-10RR features all-new bodywork, notably in the front cowl which resembles the head unit of the Kawasaki H2R hyperbike. Aerodynamics plays an important part in the new bodywork with integrated winglets providing 17% more downforce at high speed.

In the engine room is an inline four-cylinder with DOHC and 16-valves, pumping out 204 PS at 14,000 rpm and 111.8 Nm of torque at 11,700 rpm. The power number goes up to 214 PS when ram air is factored in while the standard ZX-10R puts out one PS less ins stock trim.

Rea is confident of his chances going into the 2021 WSBK season, saying, “the biggest thing we need to understand in these coming tests is engine character. We will have new parts and we will work together with my electronic engineer to give me the feeling that I really like.”

In Malaysia, the question of the Kawasaki distributorship remains somewhat tenuous, with Malaysian motorcycle maker Modenas and Kawasaki Heavy Industries reportedly teaming up for an assembly joint-venture. No real information coming as to the current status from any of the parties involved, with reports saying KHI will be taking a more active role in Modenas assembly operations.

Meanwhile, the role of Kawasaki Motors Malaysia (KMSB), which has distributed Kawasaki motorcycles in Malaysia for over two decades, is still to be determined. Last information received by paultan.org the previous year indicated KMSB would continue distribution of Kawasaki motorcycles in Malaysia above 650 cc but this is yet to be officially confirmed.