Next year could see a ZX-10RR powered Bimota superbike as the company make their way into WSB

Bimota KB4 on track action shot
Bimota KB4 on track action shot

An all new Kawasaki ZX-10RR-powered Bimota sportsbike could well be heading to the roads for 2025, following the shock announcement that the boutique Rimini brand will be partnering with the Japanese powerhouse for the 2025 World Superbike season.

Back in late April, Kawasaki confirmed that the factory KRT outfit would be pulling out of WSBK at the end of this season, with the green brand returning in 2025 with a new machine using a Bimota chassis and ZX-10RR motor.

This is possible thanks to the Japanese outfit owning a 49.9% stake in the Italian firm, with Bimota using Kawasaki engines in all of their current road and off-road enduro models.

Bimota KB4 on track action shot

“Bimota has an enviable reputation for excellence in motorcycle design and manufacture,” President and Chief Executive Officer of Kawasaki Motors Ltd, Hiroshi Ito said. “As part of our vision for the evolution of this world famous brand we see racing as a logical next step in terms of both product development as well as brand exposure on the global stage.

“Our commitment to WorldSBK is as strong as ever and we hope that this new racing project will energise fans of both Bimota and Kawasaki. The passion for race success remains and we look forward to the presence of the Bimota by Kawasaki Racing Team on the 2025 WorldSBK grid.”  

Although we don’t know much about this new racing model (not even a name), the rules laid out by the sport’s governing body, the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) suggest that a road bike will also have to arrive alongside it, in order to be eligible to compete.

Bimota KB4 static shot in paddock

In the 2024 rulebook, the FIM say that bikes competing in superbike racing must be sold for public use and have a valid homologation status in either the USA, EU, or Asia.

These bikes also have a price cap of €44,000, with Kawasaki’s current ZX-10RR racing donor bike currently costing £25,799. As such, any eventual Bimota build is likely to be at the premium end of this price cap.

Further to this, 125 units must have been produced by the point of homologation, and by the end of the first racing year of competition, 250 machines must have been made. This then rises to 500 builds by the end of the second year.

Bimota KB4 on track action shot

Bimota COO Pierluigi Marconi had previously confirmed the company’s intentions to eventually go racing, during an interview with MCN at the 2023 Eicma trade show in Milan.

“When we use the ZX-10R, it will be because we are going to race,” he said – speaking during the reveal of their Ninja H2 SX-powered Tera tourer. “For sure, for Bimota it’s important for us to race, but we need to make step by step.”

Speaking just six months ago, Marconi suggested these plans were still some way off – stating that the establishment of a sales network needed to come first.

Bimota KB4 on track action shot

“We needed to make a network because if you race, you can sell a motorcycle, but you don’t have the network for what you make,” he said. “So, this is why we need to build up the network. When the network is finished, also we will arrange something.”

Following Kawasaki’s latest announcement, MCN approached Bimota again, who declined to comment on the possibility of a new Ninja-powered road bike.

Kawasaki UK’s Head of Marketing and Racing Department, Ross Burridge further stated: “We cannot release details at this time but as soon as information becomes available, we will make it public.”

Bimota KB4 on track action shot

Borrowed engines

Due to Bimota’s relationship with Kawasaki, the Italian brand only use engines from the Japanese firm. As such, the 1043cc four pot from Ninja 1000SX lives in the KB4 range, with the supercharged H2 SX motor found in the incoming Tera. The flagship Tesi H2 uses the supercharged 998cc four from the radical Ninja H2, with the BX450 Enduro using the 449cc single from Kawasaki’s KX450 range.

ZX-10R to continue?

It’s no secret that litre-capacity superbikes are becoming harder to squeeze through tightening emissions regulations. Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 left Europe at the arrival of Euro5, and the Yamaha R1 family will now be going track-only across the continent in 2025, rather than being updated to meet Euro5+ standards.

Although both bikes are still sold for the road in other parts of the world – helping to keep them eligible for racing – Kawasaki’s latest WSBK announcement does call the future of their ZX-10R platform into question, especially given the fact that it doesn’t currently meet Euro5+ standards.

Bimota KB4 static shot

This will be a requirement for the road in Europe as of 2025, with the new regulations revolving heavily around the deterioration of a motorcycle’s catalyst (elements in the exhaust to reduce emissions) during its lifespan, and pollution levels likely to be produced by a bike at the end of its life.  

First launched in 2004, the ZX-10R platform has been in production for 20 years. Unsurprisingly, Kawasaki weren’t prepared to comment on the future of the model at this stage, however the firm’s recent investment in the screaming ZX-4RR and reintroduction of the ZX-6R sportsbike platforms do give hope for future superbike activity.