First pictures: Kawasaki’s GP four-stroke

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KAWASAKI’S new four-stroke GP bike has tested at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia – and this early prototype is said to have a lot in common with the firm’s ZX-7R superbike.

Underneath the fairing is a slightly tweaked ZX-7R chassis and the motor is understood to be little more than a big bore version of the company's 750cc inline four WSB engine. Sources say the capacity is between 900 and 960cc.

The most obvious visual difference between the bikes is the GP machine’s single air intake in the middle of its nose, compared to the two scoops either side of the central number plate on the superbike.

These first track shots of test rider Akira Yanagawa on the bike were snapped today, the opening day of a test that Kawasaki is sharing with Suzuki’s Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau, who were getting in there first serious test on the XRE0 V4 four-stroke.

Kawasaki were refusing to release any lap times or specific details about the bike, and they based themselves at opposite ends of the pitlane to Suzuki.

A witness at the test said: "Without the bodywork it would be hard to tell the difference because it sounds just like a superbike and, with Yanagawa on board, you would think he was testing for another season in WSB. It was difficult to get close to the garage because the security was pretty tight."

Kawasaki will race the bike as a prototype in this season’s Japanese superbike series. Yanagawa is also expected to race the bike in selected GPs towards the end of this season before attempting a full-scale GP season in 2003.

We'll bring you more details as we get them.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff