On Thursday afternoon, walking into the Magny-Cours paddock with Pere Riba (Rea’s head engineer), we told him: “Pere, Kawasaki certainly doesn’t need a new bike for next year.” It was obviously a provocative joke, to which he replied: “Everything is easy from the outside, but we have always worked to the max. We need a bit more horsepower for next year, because the other riders are as powerful as trains on the straight,” he said jokingly.
In the last two years, Johnny Rea had understood what it means to have to deal with the engine power of rival bikes, on all the Ducatis. The Cannibal has, in fact, been riding the same bike for five years. One that, at the beginning of each season, however, presents some updates compared to the previous one. But there weren’t any particular innovations, such as Ducati had, showing off its Panigale V4, or Honda with its CBR 1000 RR-R.
Johnny has always had to work with the same bike, finding alternative solutions and ways to be fast. Several times he’s told us: “Every night I pray for a new bike for the upcoming year.” After so many years, he finally got it.
That’s right, because Rea will be racing with a new Kawasaki in 2021.Yes, you read that right! There will be no updates, but a completely new bike. What the rider had requested several times. This goes for him, but also for his teammates Lowes and the Puccetti, Pedercini, and Orelac teams, which will receive the same type of treatment.
At Magny-Cours, we tried to understand something more about the innovations that the Japanese manufacturer will launch on the market. First of all, the engine will be more powerful than the current one. In fact, there are rumors of about 1,000 more rpms. So the Kawasaki will go from the current 14,600 to 15,600, probably equaling the Honda.
The hull will then be completely revised with the introduction of wings. Remember that in Portimao last summer Kawasaki had already tested wings. That was a first clue of what would later be brought to the project for the new bike, without forgetting the electronics, since this will also be revised.
In short, these are some of the innovations that Kawasaki will show off on the track, starting with the winter tests. In recent months, there’s been talk of a MotoGP-style Kawasaki. In this respect, we’re being careful in comparing since, in Japan, they don’t want to change what has been their philosophy for years regarding the world of derivatives. So, talking about a Kawasaki MotoGP is forbidden. They probably wouldn’t like that definition in Akashi.