New ZX-10R takes on its rivals

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To find out if Kawasaki’s new ZX-10R has what it takes to beat its rivals, we’ve begun a week-long comparison test, which starts at MCN’s Peterborough HQ today and finishes at the Alcarras circuit in Spain on Friday.

The previous ZX-10R was released in 2011 and it dominated in World and British Superbike, Superstock 1000 and club racing, but in road trim it didn’t have the searing grunt of the competition, or the technology.

Kawasaki hope all that will change with the new machine, which has the latest electronic rider aids, and a revised chassis and styling. We tested the old and new ZX-10R a few weeks ago and while straight line performance is similar, it makes 191bhp on our dyno – 10bhp up on the old one.

In our 2016 superbike shootout, we’ll be pitching the new ZX-10R against last year’s winner, the Yamaha R1, as well as the Aprilia RSV4 RF, BMW S1000RR and Ducati 1299 Panigale S.

There won’t be a Honda Fireblade or Suzuki GSX-R1000 at the test, as last year’s test showed that while they’re still superb road bikes, they are outpaced on the track and in the rider aids department – an neither have been updated for 2016.

Over the next two days we’re riding the three inline four-cylinder test machines 1000-miles from the UK to Spain. We’ve equipped them with Metzeler’s new Roadtec 01 sports touring tyre, which will be perfect for the cold, wet and conditions we’ll find along the way at this time of the year.

Once in Spain we’re swapping to a fresh set of bikes and will be joined by the Ducati and Aprilia, which are coming from Italy. They’ll be shod with Pirelli Diablo Rosso III sports tyres for the main part of our test on, dry, twisty mountain roads. Finally we’ll head to Alcarras, dial in manufacturer’s recommended track settings, fit Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa SC1 rubber and see how fast they are around a track.

The full test will be in the Wednesday March 2 edition of MCN – and we’ll be posting test updates live online here, and on MCN’s Facebook and Twitter feeds as the test unfolds.

Michael Neeves

By Michael Neeves

MCN Chief Road Tester, club racer, airmiles millionaire.