New riders and a new machine for SRC Kawasaki
Factory-backed team SRC Kawasaki has just returned from two days of testing at Jerez to check new technical solutions and unite the team’s new rider trio: Randy de Puniet, Fabien Foret and Mathieu Gines.
The new line-up of riders places SRC Kawasaki among the favourites for a win at the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans, the only race the team is entered for in the 2016-2017 season. After a successful endurance debut at the Bol d’Or 2016 (SRC Kawasaki finished runner-up), Randy de Puniet has signed up to ride the ZX-10R #11 at Le Mans and the 2017 Bol d’Or. The MotoGP rider will team up once again with SRC Kawasaki mainstay and Supersport 2002 world champion Fabien Foret. Top-class new recruit Mathieu Gines – the FIM EWC 2014 world champion – has joined the SRC Kawasaki stable, alongside Morgan Berchet as substitute rider.
A whole new machine
SRC Kawasaki used the winter lull to fine-tune its ZX-10R. “It’s a whole new machine,” says SRC team manager Gilles Stafler. “We put in a new swingarm, and we’ve rejigged the electronics and weight distribution. We moved the fuel tank to the bike’s centre of mass, under the seat. All the riders realized they were better off without the weight transfer from a full fuel tank. Our first test session was somewhat disrupted by rainy weather, but it helped our riders to limber up and enabled us to green-light the 2017 version of our bike.”
SRC Kawasaki’s next test session is scheduled for end-February at Castellet.
Although the French Kawasaki team is only entered for the 24 Heures Motos and the Bol d’Or, Gilles Stafler admits that a Le Mans victory could change SRC’s objectives and put it back in the FIM EWC 2016-2017 title chase. Watch this space.