With the World Superbike paddock mostly reassembled at Aragon, for the three-day WSBK test there, the teams are taking the opportunity to make any announcements which they still have outstanding. Most of those - such as the announcement earlier that James Toseland would be riding for the BMW Italia team - are merely confirmation of news which had leaked out earlier, and the press release from the factory-supported Kawasaki WSBK and WSS teams was no exception.
In it, Kawasaki confirmed that they will be running three riders in the PBM Kawasaki squad, with Spaniard Joan Lascorz joining 2010 riders Tom Sykes and Chris Vermeulen for 2011. Lascorz was outstanding all year in World Supersport until his season-ending crash at Silverstone, but his early performance was good enough to earn promotion to World Superbikes.
Taking Lascorz' place in WSS is Australian rider Broc Parkes, who will be joined by another Spaniard, David Salom. Parkes had a disjointed season in WSBK and WSS in 2010, starting out with the Echo CRS team, then later switching to the Kawasaki squad in place of the injured Lascorz. Salom spent 2010 aboard a Triumph Daytona 675 triple, and was impressive enough to earn the Kawasaki ride.
Below is the text of the Kawasaki press release:
Kawasaki has great pleasure in confirming the line-up of its factory-supported teams in both WSBK and WSS classes for the 2011 racing season.
Tom Sykes will ride alongside Chris Vermeulen and Joan Lascorz essentially forming a three-man WSBK effort for KRT. The team, being run by the Paul Bird Motorsports squad once more, will be using the all-new Ninja ZX-10R.
Broc Parkes and David Salom will be running in World Supersport for the Kawasaki Provec Motocard.com team, competing on the well-proven Ninja ZX-6R.
Sykes, like Vermeulen, has been retained for the 2011 Superbike World Championship season, as part of a determined attack on the title with the new Ninja ZX-10R. He is already taking part in an extensive winter test programme, including the current track outings at Aragon in Spain. Vermeulen will start his second season with the factory Kawasaki after he finishes his rehabilitation from reconstructive surgery on his right knee. Promoted from the Supersport division, rising star Lascorz is preparing himself for his latest challenge, in the Superbike class, after several successful seasons for the Spanish rider in WSS racing.
Tom Sykes: "It's great to be staying with Kawasaki as a manufacturer and ride for the Paul Bird team again for 2011. We have done some good work together this year and exceeded some of our expectations, so it is nice to stay with PBM Kawasaki team in what will be an important year for us all. The new bike is already showing massive potential in testing and we have a lot of sessions planned through the winter. Roll on 2011!"
Chris Vermeulen: "I am working hard to get ready for next year. Kawasaki has been great; they have stood behind me and given me great support. With three riders Kawasaki is keen to move forward and Tom did a great job on the 2010 bike at the end of the year. It is all good to see, and I have already had a close look at the new bike. It looks cool and it certainly seems to be working well already. It's exciting and I can't wait to get on the new bike."
Joan Lascorz: "It's my dream to continue my relationship with Kawasaki and now I have the chance to ride in World Superbike, on an exciting new machine. I am recovering well from the injuries I picked up in Silverstone and I am looking forward to getting on the Superbike as soon as I can. I want to say thank you to Kawasaki for the help and support and I hope to repay them with good results in my rookie year in WSBK racing."
Paul Risbridger: World Superbike Team Manager: "I think we have a great mixture of riders, with different backgrounds, different skills, different styles and they will each bring their own approach to the new bike. I think that will not only help us develop it faster, but it should give us an edge from track-to-track. Sometimes maybe one rider will be the stronger at one circuit, then another rider will be stronger at another circuit, and so on through the year. We are very pleased with the 2011 bike and it has been performing well in testing."
In Supersport Parkes, already confirmed as a 2011 rider for the Kawasaki Provec Motocard.com team, will be joined by Spanish rider Salom. David has much experience in this class and is thrilled to be in a factory squad with the strong recent track record enjoyed by Kawasaki.
Broc Parkes: "It's a great feeling to be riding for Kawasaki in 2011 and we have already done good work in testing, finding new set-ups to take forward to next year. This is a great opportunity for me and both the bike and team are well proven in this class. We will be a strong package together in 2011."
David Salom: "I'm very happy with the opportunity. I know many riders want to ride the official Ninja ZX-6R so I am a little lucky to be the one chosen. I hope my experience in World Supersport can be a good point to add to the team and next year improve my results a little. I want to say thanks to Kawasaki and Motocard.com for giving me this great opportunity."
Guim Roda: World Supersport Team Manager: "We decided that David Salom should be the team mate for Broc next year. He has enough experience, and the correct attitude to understand the opportunity he will have. He will listen and learn to the advice offered by the team. That way he will find the maturity in his riding style to fight for the podium every race. We are all ready to go for Championship next year."
Ichiro Yoda: KME Racing Manager: "We believe that three riders giving information inside the PBM team will speed up the process of developing the all-new Ninja ZX-10R, and help tune up the new bike's potential very quickly! Then, obviously, we hope to be highly competitive from the very beginning of next season. For WSS, we are very happy to work with Broc Parkes, who was ex-WSB rider for us, and along with David Salom there is a big racing passion and high motivation to succeed next year. We feel confidence with them and the Provec team management to achieve our target of winning that championship."