Kawasaki will not renew its World Superbike contract with Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM) for 2012, instead focusing on bringing the race team further under the control of the Japanese manufacturer. Kawasaki had invited bids for teams interested in the 2012 and beyond contract, and received as many as six offers. Just days ago though, Kawasaki European Race Planning Manager Steve Gutteridge indicated that a decision between PBM and current Kawasaki factory World Supersport team Provec would be forthcoming.

Now stating that is has made the decision not to renew PBM’s contract, Kawasaki’s announcement is also devoid of naming the Provec team as the bid winner. “We have enjoyed three valuable years alongside the Paul Bird Motorsport team and would like to put on record our sincere thanks for the time, effort and dedication they have shown to the Kawasaki World Superbike racing programme,” said Race Manager Ichiro Yoda, as he indicated that there would be no contract renewal.

Instead, Yoda explained, “The direction of our World Superbike effort from 2012 moves to even closer control from our HQ where decisions will be made back in Japan next year.” He added, without actually naming a bid winner, “There are plans for much more testing in the future and so from a European logistical perspective Kawasaki’s WSB operating base will need to be close to the best circuits and good weather conditions, for practical reasons.” That statement could indicate that France-based Provec team has won the contract over British-based PBM, but the wording also leaves the suggestion that Kawasaki could be fielding an in-house effort for the 2012 season.

Though there were many legitimite reasons for PBM’s involvement with Kawasaki to come to an end, this announcement came just days after Tom Sykes won the rain-soaked Race 2 at the Nurburgring on his PBM Kawasaki, bringing Team Green is first race victory of the season. This however was not enough to counteract the team’s generally poor performance, the earlier drugs and weapons haul by British customs earlier this season, and the desire for tighter control of the race team by Kawasaki. Making matters worse on the three-rider team has been the complete absence of PBM’s third rider, Chris Vermeulen, who has spent much of the season recovering from previously and newly sustained injuries.

Source: Kawasaki Racing; Photo: Kawasaki Racing

  • Dr. Gellar

    Regardless what Kawasaki ultimately decides, PBM had to go. The drug and gun fiasco was, to say the least…disgraceful.

    Hopefully bringing the racing program closer to the factory will lead to some greater success. As good as Sykes win was, he owes some thanks to Noriyuki Haga (who led nearly all of the race before the race was stopped) for throwing his Aprilia into the weeds.

  • Just wanted to pass comment on this part of your article:

    “Making matters worse on the three-rider team has been the complete absence of PBM’s third rider, Chris Vermeulen, who has spent much of the season recovering from previously and newly sustained injuries”

    PBM didn’t want Vermeulen to stay on for 2011, it was Kawasaki who made them honour the contract so you can’t count vermeulen being injured for PBM’s downfalls.

    I think more Kawsaki control is definitely needed to progress this bike however I think it would have been clever to keep it in the hands of a team that are familiar with it.

    Although, it’s good to see they are interested in keeping TS.

  • I’m sorry I didn’t make it clear, but I was attempting to indicate that the “making matters worse” was regarding the results for Kawasaki without Vermeulen racing, not so much making matters worse for PBM in contract negotiations. Sorry about the confusion.

  • Tiago Neves

    I feel a lot for PBM because i tinck this guys like the Grean and most of the situations they have been unlucky… Chris Vermelleun was a big probleme with is injury but i dont no wy i feel that most of the problems of the Kawasaki are still the problems that they had in the past.. They created new bike after new bike promoting the new better handling the new better grip control more Power but at the end off the race we allways see Kawasaki struggling to keep the bike on the track… Im my live i never wach so many times the grean make at least one good qualafy star weell the races and then or crash or end at the back off the field=(…

    And i know wy i love Kawasaki’ s i love because of its FILOSAFI they are made for Ninjas, they are know to be dangerous because off its Screamer Top end Power engines… But its he’s Bad ass FILOSAFI for me that its what is killing Kawasaki performance.. Just like Bmw S 1000rr for comparacing.. its another bike that star faste but ends slow, and in this departement i tinck the best bike that will be in advantege its the Ducati..

    Como on people the true its that if we are allways crying for the rules allow more engine capacity for Vtwins engines we are solving the only probleme that a Vtwin engine will had.. because on the rest off the history the Vtwin is better then the 4 cilinder..

    The Vtwin can generated more Torque and aceleration on the Lowest powerband possible and its Hp its preety much similar to the 4 Ciinder.. Ok 4 cilinder had more Top power but most off the times they can only used this extra top Power on the first 5 laps of the race wen the bike had grip and exit the corners with Ful Power and Grip, because to the end off the races 4 cilinder bikes are more dangerous to ride Hard…

    I love Vtwins engines.. But all say that the best comparating year off the best Vtwin engine vs the 4 cilinder was in 2007 with the 999 of Troy vs James Toseland… The Ducati was 1000cc and the 4 cilender 1000cc…

    4 cilinder– Many bikes have diferents caracteres but i shall say that the Honda machine its the most complete 4 cilinder being able to put more power then the Ducati and at the same time build a well balance Machine and was a great battle to win the champion

    Vtwin- Sharp bike and faster handling better trottle reaction and Economical to tyres because they worck all race under 10.000 11 or 12.000 Rpm wille te 4 cilinder are allways screeming in 14.000 15.000 or iven 16.000 rpm…

    Ok return to Kawasaki i beliave that one screamer engine can better, to be honest with all this nerw electonics i was expecting kawasaki to be a better all round track bike but they never had grip..
    only in Rain they can win.. jejjeje How the Hell a dangerous bike to ride wins on Wet???????????????????????????????

    I just hope to see the gran at front many times will see for 2012