Kawasaki’s four-stroke GP bike to debut this season
Kawasaki’s new four-cylinder four-stroke GP bike will feature in selected races in this year's GP world championship.
The Japanese company announced on Tuesday morning that its new in-line four is likely to seen in later rounds of the series as a wild card entry.
The most likely races that we are likely to see the new bike are at the final three in Japan, Australia and Malaysia.
Kawasaki's bike will enter the four-stroke series on a full-time basis in 2003. Bosses have also confirmed that one of the machines will be entered in this year's Japanese superbike championship to speed up development, just as Suzuki is doing with its XRE0.
All of the testing programme will be conducted by former World Superbike campaigner Akira Yanagawa.
A Kawasaki statement says: "In 2002 we are looking forward to another exciting year of racing. In line with our plans to contest the MotoGP class in 2003, 2002 will be a year of preparation and testing for us as we devote maximum effort towards developing our new in-line four GP machine.
"To this end, in 2002 we plan to enter our GP bike under new development in the All-Japan Road Racing Championship experimental class and in the MotoGP class. However, it has not yet been decided which specific events the machine will contest. For MotoGP, it will probably be in the later rounds, and development is progressing with that goal in mind."
Yanagawa said: "I have been given the great responsibility of overseeing development of Kawasaki's new GP bike. I look forward to the challenge with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation, and I expect to use to the fullest the experience I've gained during five years in World Superbikes " ."