RACING HISTORY

Kawasaki’s racing history started with a motocross race in 1961.
More than half a century has passed since then, and Kawasaki has amassed countless victories in both road racing and off-road racing.
As we continue to pursue all possibilities, Kawasaki’s indomitable racing spirit burns brightly.

Road Racing

  • 2015-2018

    Jonathan Rea joined the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015. Extracting the full performance of the Ninja ZX-10R, he became World Champion in his first year with the team. With the arrival of the more potent Ninja ZX-10RR in 2017, Kawasaki and Rea became an unbeatable combination. Along with a record four consecutive riders’ and manufacturers’ titles, Rea has been rewriting the history books in other areas too: most wins in a season, most points in a season, most podiums in a season.

  • 2018

    The Supersport 300 World Championship was established in 2017. In the 2018 season, Ninja 400-mounted Ana Carrasco took two wins on her way to securing the championship, becoming the first female racer to win a race, and the first female racer to win a title in the history of FIM world championship racing.

  • 2015-2016

    Three years after Kenan Sofuoglu captured the 2012 Supersport World Championship on his Ninja ZX-6R, he took five wins on his way to taking the 2015 title. The following year, six wins earned him a successive title, and proved to the world the high circuit potential offered by the Ninja ZX-6R.

  • 2013

    When Tom Sykes missed the World SBK title by the narrowest of margins on his Ninja ZX-10R in 2012, it set up a sense of keen expectation felt by Kawasaki fans around the world. He made good in 2013, taking 9 race victories in his 18 podium finishes to win the championship. For Kawasaki, it was the first Superbike World Championship title in 20 years.

  • 2002-2008

    In 2002 Kawasaki returned to the World Grand Prix, the pinnacle of motorcycle road racing, after a 20-year absence. Competing in the MotoGP class, Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-RR improved year by year. At the 2004 Japan GP, Shinya Nakano rode to a 3rd place podium finish. As development progressed, Kawasaki riders scored 2nd place finishes in the 2005 China GP, the 2006 Dutch GP and the 2007 Japan GP. On the MotoGP battlefield, the Ninja ZX-RR made steady advances.

  • 2001

    Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-6R, which debuted in 1995, had been active in the AMA Supersport Championship, but it wasn’t until 1999 that a factory team entered the FIM Supersport World Championship. In the 2001 season, consistent riding by Andrew Pitt earned Kawasaki its first title in this world championship series.

  • 1993

    In 1992, Scott Russell, riding a ZXR750 prepped by famous tuner Rob Muzzy, took the AMA Superbike Championship. Russell and Muzzy teamed up again to take on the 1993 Superbike World Championship. Armed with an even more potent ZXR750R, Russell took the title in his first year competing in the championship, giving Kawasaki their first World Superbike title.

  • 1991-1993

    After ceasing works participation in 1983, Kawasaki returned to the Endurance World Championship in 1988. With the ZXR-7, a new TT-F1 race machine, Kawasaki dominated the field for three consecutive years, capturing the title in 1991-1993. At the 1993 Suzuka 8 Hours, the pairing of Scott Russell and Aaron Slight were victorious, earning Kawasaki their first win in the prestigious race.

  • 1981-1983

    From 1981 to 1983 the Endurance World Championship was dominated by Kawasaki’s KR1000 endurance racer. The French endurance team, Kawasaki France Performance, earned Kawasaki the manufacturers’ title for three years running. In 1981 and 1982, Kawasaki riders took all the top positions, and 1983 was the year of the famous Kawasaki podium sweep at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

  • 1981-1983

    With thorough tuning from Rob Muzzy and Eddie Lawson’s steady riding, Kawasaki captured the AMA Superbike titles in 1981 and 1982 on the KZ1000J/KZ1000S1. When the regulations changed in 1983, Kawasaki fielded the new GPz750. In the capable hands of Wayne Rainey, it was the dominant machine, earning Kawasaki a third consecutive title.

  • 1978-1982

    The 1974 KR250 and KR350 were created to compete in the World Grand Prix, the pinnacle of motorcycle road racing. In the capable hands of Kork Ballington and Anton Mang, the KRs virtually dominated GP250 and GP350 racing from 1978 to 1982. In the two classes Kawasaki riders took eight world championships, and in GP250 Kawasaki was the manufacturers’ champion four years in a row.

  • 1973

    The 1971 H2R, a 748 cm3 two-stroke three-cylinder production racer, inspired such awe in racing rivals at circuits around the world that it was nicknamed the “Green Meanie.” In the 1973 AMA Road Racing Championship, Gary Nixon won three races to take the title.

  • 1969

    Kawasaki’s famous Lime Green paint was developed in 1968, and at the 1969 Daytona 200 the following year, all the A7RS and A1RAS factory race machines were cloaked in Lime Green. Until then, Kawasaki racers had usually been painted red, and green was considered an inauspicious colour at the time, so the new machines were greeted with surprise. However, subsequent success of the Lime Green racers led Kawasaki to adopt the colour as their official racing image colour.

Road Racing

  • 2017-2018

    Eli Tomac stormed to the front of the 2017 AMA Motocross Championship on his KX450F to take the title in the 450MX class. The next year, mounted on an updated machine, Tomac displayed overwhelming speed and clockwork consistency. Of the 24 races held over 12 rounds, he took 15 wins and 21 podium finishes, earning the title again.

  • 2011-2014

    Already a multi-time champion in Supercross Lites and Motocross Lites on the KX250F, Ryan Villopoto stepped up to the 450 class in 2009. Everything came together in 2011 when he took his KX450F to the first of four back-to-back Supercross titles. AMA Motocross titles in 2011 and 2013 only reinforced his unbeatable image.

  • 2007

    James Stewart took the Supercross title on his KX450F, while Ryan Villopoto took the Supercross Lites West and Ben Townsley the Supercross Lites East titles on the KX250F, making it a clean sweep of Lime Green KX machines across all classes.

  • 1995

    Stefan Everts and his KX250 dominated the 1995 World Motocross Championship, taking five victories and the title. It was the first World Motocross title for Kawasaki, and the first 250-class title for Everts. The following year, Sebastien Tortelli won the 125-class championship on the KX125. In 1998, he stepped up to the 250-class and was once again crowned world champion, this time on the KX250.

  • 1990

    A 2-stroke 500cc motocross is a monster machine, but Jeff Ward was able to tame the beast, taking his KX500 to successive 500-class titles in 1989 and 1990. Ward was already a multi-time AMA champion, having won the AMA Motocross 125 class title on a KX125, and the AMA Motocross and Supercross 250-class titles on a KX250. With his 500-class title, he became the first rider in AMA history to win four different crowns.

  • 1973

    A new development department, charged with creating a genuine motocross racer, was established within Kawasaki in 1972. Prototypes of the KX250 and KX125 next-generation motocrossers were entered in local races to advance development, and sales of production models commenced in 1973. Since then, development of the KX Series has continued uninterrupted to this day.

  • 1961-1963

    A race machine based on the Kawasaki B7 made its debut at an All Japan Motocross race in 1961. Kawasaki made the decision to compete in earnest the following year, and at the first annual MFJ Hyogo Prefectural Motocross Race in 1963, Kawasaki B8 racers dominated convincingly, filling the top six positions.