Kawasaki Announces Suzuka 8-Hours Factory Team with Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam, & Kazuma Watanabe

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This year’s Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race is heating up with competition, as today Kawasaki announced that it will field a one-off factory squad for the race.

Riding the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR, the Kawasaki Team Green will consists of three riders: Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam, and Kazuma Watanabe.

The move bodes well for the Suzuka 8-Hours, as the iconic Japanese race continues to see growing interest from the Japanese OEMs.

The last three races have seen Yamaha’s one-off factory team winning the race, and this year Honda announced that it would field an official factory team in response to Yamaha’s recent domination.

Not wanting to be left out in the cold, today marks Kawasaki’s response to the growing Suzuka challenge, and all three factories have a chance of winning one of Japan’s biggest bragging rights in the motorcycle industry.

“Suzuka is the biggest test for man and machine. It’s like an emotional roller coaster during the race and I am very excited to go back this season,” said Jonathan Rea in the team’s press release.

The three-time World Superbike champion will be joined by Leon Haslam, who is no stranger to the Suzuka circuit and its endurance racing format.

“Suzuka is very challenging circuit and it really suits the characteristics of the bike itself. Being part of Team Green and riding the ZX-10RR is a dream come true,” said Haslam.

With hundreds of laps to contend with though, winning the Suzuka 8-Hours will not be easy for the trio of riders, and this year’s competition looks to be one of the most competitive that we have seen in many years.

We expect to see many more celebrity riders announced for this year’s event, so stay tuned for our full coverage.

Source: Kawasaki