Big Kawasaki superbike team preseason test at Sepang next week

A total of 12 riders will be present at the four-day preseason test at the Sepang circuit

Showing that Kawasaki is serious about using its new ZX-10R to return to its former position as a major player in the World Superbike Championship, the majority of Kawasaki World Superbike and World Superstock riders will be participating in a massive four-day test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia starting on January 10.

A total of 12 Kawasaki riders will be running at the test. These include Kawasaki World Superbike team riders Tom Sykes, Joan Lascorz, and Chris Vermeulen (who is still recovering from major reconstructive knee surgery). Former World Supersport stalwart (and now official Kawasaki test rider) Katsuaki Fujiwara, Kawasaki All-Japan Superbike JSB 1000 rider (and long-time Kawasaki racer) Akira Yanagawa, and Paul Bird Motorsports-sponsored (public) road racer Stuart Easton will also be astride superbikes, along with newly signed Pedercini Kawasaki rider Robby Rolfo. Former MotoGP rider Gabor Talmacsi will be riding with the Pedercini squad as part of a tryout for a World Superbike ride after failing to secure funding that would enable him to stay in MotoGP. Pedercini’s World Superstock riders Bryan Staring (former Australian Supersport champion and ASBK contender), Marco Bussolotti and Leandro Mercado (former AMA racer) will also be present to dial in their Superstock-spec machines, and the team will be giving a tryout for Czech rider Michal Salac.

It’s no secret that the Pedercini squad isn’t the most well-funded team in World Superbike, so it’s easily assumed that Kawasaki is helping pay for shipping all of the bikes to Malaysia for this test—not exactly an inexpensive proposition. As is renting the Sepang circuit for four days. Kawasaki has a lot riding on the new ZX-10R, and the factory obviously wants the teams to be as ready as possible for the 2011 season.