Multiple teams have placed bids to become the 2012 factory Kawasaki racing team in World Superbike, including current factory team Paul Bird Motorsports. The five other teams include satellite Team Pedericini, the current Alstare Suzuki squad (who are less than thrilled with Suzuki’s lack of support), and the Supersonic Ducati team completing the current WSBK teams vying for factory backing. Also interested are British Superbike team MSS Colchester and factory World Supersport’s Motocard.com team.
For PBM, the process of retaining factory support is more difficult after team trucks and personnel were detained with drugs and weaponry when returning to Britian after the Assen round. Though the team said afterwards, “The team are confident that no team member has any connection whatsoever with the items discovered. No one has been detained after the time of the search and all team members are able to undertake their normal duties,” such an event certainly raised eyebrows, and likely soured with an embarrassed Kawasaki.
With that event in mind, the typical jostling over contracts has given an opportunity for other teams to swoop in for official Kawasaki factory backing. Kawasaki technical director Ichiro Yoda allowed, “We have received six requests, all from high quality teams and we are currently evaluating them,” adding, “We’ll make our decision in August because we want to start development early.”
Paul Bird Motorsports has enjoyed some success this season, despite Chris Vermeulen’s continuing injury saga. Tom Sykes has started on pole position twice out of eight rounds, though Kawasaki remains second to last in the championship standings.