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Factory Inspection: Kawasaki Racing Team Preview

Image: WorldSBK.com

The Kawasaki Racing Team in World Superbikes are the dominant force in the paddock, with four titles between their riders in the last five years. Jonny Rea comes into this 2018 a completely different figure, with three titles, an MBE and a runner up in BBC Sports Personality of the Year to his name. Teammate Sykes meanwhile has already cited that his ‘mojo’ has been found, making it an interesting in-team rivalry ahead of the 2018 season.

Jonathan Rea is nearly the greatest World Superbike rider in the class’ history. An unprecedented three consecutive titles is something that no one has achieved before in the championship, with only Carl Fogarty achieving four throughout his years in the championship. Six more wins for Rea will see him overhaul Fogarty’s record of 59 wins, with then just one more title to achieve before equalling him on that. I know where my money would be at the start of 2018.

Looking to take back control within the Kawasaki garage, long-standing rider and 2013 champion, Tom Sykes. The Huddersfield-native hasn’t had a sniff at championship success since Rea came in at Kawasaki and in 2018, I think Sykes will show that he has had enough. Could it finally be breaking point? Could we finally see a few fireworks and sparks of rivalry and discontent for each other? Sykes will need to come out the blocks firing on all four cylinders to stop the rot that is happening on his side of the Kawasaki garage.

Whilst Jonny Rea has won the last four races at Phillip Island and not been off the podium at the Australian venue since 2014, teammate Sykes is not fond of the place and has never won at the track. Rea’s bogey track could be said to be Donington Park, with just one win at the track – comparatively low in comparison to other circuits. With the addition of Brno and El Vilicum circuit in Argentina, we might see a surprise. Maybe it won’t be a Rea-Kawasaki white-wash after all?

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