Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., announced an updated Ninja ZX-10RR model for 2024, giving the superbike a new variable air intake system. The VAI system is new for North America, but it was already previously announced for Europe, and the Kawasaki Racing Team has been racing the updated model for the 2023 World Superbike Championship.
One of the worst-kept secrets in motorcycling is now a secret no more: Kawasaki has announced the Ninja ZX-4RR KRT will be coming to the US in 2023, (hopefully) ushering in a revival of 400cc four-cylinder sportbikes that were all the rage in the 1990s. But unlike the current parallel-twin Ninja 400, which is essentially a budget bike dressed in sportbike clothes, this newest model is worthy of the ZX prefix, as it boasts proper suspension, twin radial brakes, a full electronics suite, and chassis geometry inspired by its ZX-6R and ZX-10R siblings – oh, and let’s not forget – a compact four-banger that will rev to over 15,000 rpm! But more on all those things in a minute.
When Ducati revealed the 2023 Panigale V4 R last week, we raised an eyebrow when we saw its $44,995 price tag. As we noted in our First Look article, this exceed the price cap to be eligible for World Superbike racing. According to 2022 regulations, sport production machines were capped to a price of €40k, and the previous Panigale V4 R fit snugly below that price cap. The 2023 model, however, comes in at €43,990 in Ducati’s home market, Italy. We figured another shoe had to drop.
After a one week delay due to “organizational reasons,” Ducati released the fourth part of its 2023 World Première series, “This is Racing”. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the subject of the episode is the new 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R. We knew the V4 R would represent the pinnacle of Ducati’s racing development, so we eagerly awaited the official details.
In a move further supporting my argument that R1s are purpose-built racebikes with lights and mirrors to make them legal on the roads, for 2023 Yamaha is introducing the R1 GYTR – an R1 prepared specifically for track duty, without any of the homologation pieces for roadworthiness (don’t worry, the standard R1 isn’t going anywhere). Yamaha similarly does the same thing with the R6, offering it for sale exclusively as a track-only model.
To celebrate 30 years since Aprilia won its first world championship title, Aprilia (or, more appropriately, the racing division) is introducing this, the RSV4 Xtrenta. Encompassing the same basic profile the RSV4 has carried since its birth over a decade ago, the Xtrenta is defined by the level of aerodynamic work the Noale factory has applied from its MotoGP program.
As we had previously reported last month, Ducati is introducing a new Panigale V4 SP2, a numbered series production model it bills as “The Ultimate Racetrack Machine.” Internationally, the SP2 is a 2022 model, but for North America, it will arrive in dealerships in the fourth quarter as a 2023 model.
Before you start peppering me with hate mail about how on earth a Yamaha R7 could possibly be the best Sportbike, let’s remember what our MOBOs are about in the first place. It’s not strictly about performance. If that were the case, then clearly the Yamaha would be pretty far down the totem pole. How the machine works is a factor, sure, but it’s also about a motorcycle’s significance in the greater overall context of its category and motorcycling in general. Considered in this context, the R7 should start to make a little more sense.
Ducati revealed new Panigale V4 and V4 S models for 2022, announcing updates to the aerodynamics, ergonomics, chassis, engine and electronics. These evolutionary changes represent the most significant update since the V4’s debut in 2018, and the result of input from Ducati’s racing program.
What Johnny Rea wants, Johnny Rea gets. That’s the kind of pull you have when you become the most dominant rider in World Superbike history and help Kawasaki become the dominant manufacturer from the moment you join the team. It’s also the short history behind the latest incarnation of the Kawasaki ZX-10R for 2021. It’s not a new motorcycle from the ground up, but comes with some significant revisions over the previous model to help Johnny keep one step ahead of the chasing pack.
If you’ve been following me on social media at all in 2020 (I’m @motrizzle, in case you’re wondering), you’ve probably noticed my feed is littered with pics of a certain orange motorcycle. It’s not that common for a single bike to dominate my feed considering the different number of bikes I get to ride (pre-pandemic, anyway). But this one is different. Both literally and figuratively. The Lightfighter electric superbike plays such a dominant role in my feed because I have a personal stake in it. I helped develop it. And now, for version 2.0, a physical object built around my feedback would be the proof in the pudding to determine whether I have any idea what I’m talking about.
Kawasaki‘s World Superbike racing team has begun testing of the 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR, revealing the superbike’s new look. As KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes take the new Ninja out on the Jerez circuit, Kawasaki confirmed the production model ZX-10RR, and presumably the Ninja ZX-10R as well, will be revealed on Nov. 23. (Updated with high resolution photos).
Let’s be real for a second here: Honda’s always taken the über conservative route with what we now know as the CBR1000RR, and this dates all the way back to the CBR’s origins with the CBR900RR. When compared against its peers, the consensus usually goes “The Honda is a really good bike, but it’s not great.” The reason is because Honda’s tried to toe the line between racetrack performance and streetable useability because these are road-legal motorcycles after all. And as much as any investor will tell you how important it is to diversify, in the sportbike world, this simply isn’t the case anymore.