Kawasaki has given the Versys-X 300 somewhat of an identity crisis. The all-new 2017 model is positioned as a street bike, and is listed as such on Kawasaki’s Canadian website. But then there are the dirt-leaning dual sport looks, and the marketing imagery of the bike being ridden in the dirt and splashing through mud. You’d be forgiven for being as perplexed as I was about who exactly this motorcycle is intended for.
Friday, 12 May 2017 13:36 Published in Feature Stories
@thebikeshows •@DaltonTimmis • @CanadaKawasaki • TORONTO (December 7, 2016) – When the doors close on the opening day of the 2017 Motorcycle Show-Toronto presented by Dalton Timmis Insurance, which runs at Exhibition Place’s Enercare Centre February 17-19, one lucky woman will walk away with the keys to a new 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 300.
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 11:41 Published in News
It is hard to believe another race season is almost behind us. 2016 is definitely a year for me to forget in terms of racing. It started off strong back in January where I won an endurance race over in China. I was in good form and had a big year planned with both my BMW team on the roads in Europe and my Kawasaki Superbike team in Asia.
Friday, 18 November 2016 13:46 Published in Dan Kruger
The Kawasaki H2R and H2 are back for 2017, as is a new H2 Carbon model. Two years after the introduction of one of the most-talked-about motorcycles in modern history, Kawasaki has unveiled a slew of upgrades for all models in 2017.
• NEW Bosch compact Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) allows for additional feedback and layer of precision for management control
• NEW Multi-mode traction control
• Launch control, engine braking control, ABS and a quick shifter
• NEW Instrument features include bank angle display and max bank angle recording function
• NEW Kawasaki Intelligent Anti-lock Brake System (KIBS) corner braking control, with feedback from IMU, increases cornering capabilities
• NEW Contactless-type quick shifter that now allows for quicker shifts for seamless acceleration and quick and easy deceleration (downshifting capability new for 2017) and enables rapid upshifts.
• NEW Öhlins® TTX fully adjustable, concentric twin tube design rear shock
• NEW Remote preload adjuster simplifies adjustment without tools for rider preference
• NEW Updated rear shock linkage ratios contribute to firmer, more stable feeling
• NEW Aerodynamic Brembo brake and clutch levers are shorter with rounded edges
• NEW High-quality emblem adds racy and edgy look to the upper cowl
The engine remains a supercharged 998 cc inline-four; the R model remains a track-only offering, while the H2 and H2 carbon are street legal. The limited-edition Carbon model, of which only 120 are being produced, features all-carbon-fibre reinforcement polymer upper cowl, special stamping and silver-mirror paint.
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 13:53 Published in Industry News
Kawasaki announces new 2017 models destined for Canada including Z650, Z900, ZX-10RR and Versys X-300 ABS
Canadian Kawasaki Motors released information on its 2017 model range on October 14, including four all-new models destined for Canadian dealerships.
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 13:39 Published in Industry News
@kenan_sofuoglu • @WorldSBK • (October 15, 2016)- Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was already the most successful rider to have ever competed in the Supersport World Championship, but today he proved again why he is the best; setting the bar even higher by rewriting his own record today, the Turkish rider won his fifth World Supersport Championship at the Circuito de Jerez.
Sunday, 16 October 2016 13:48 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 pilot Roger Hayden was quickest in the morning warm-up session for this afternoon’s two final Superbike Feature races of 2016 in the MotoAmerica Championship Series. After a troubled SuperPole session on Saturday, dominated by Yamaha entries, the last pre-race SBK track sessions at New Jersey Motorsport Park suggest a more diverse pair of races this afternoon.
Hayden, youngest of the famed trio of Hayden brothers from Kentucky, set the pace with a best lap at 1:21.6, comparing well to his Saturday best lap of 1:21.3 (fourth on the grid) set on special Q slick rear Dunlop rubber.
Pole for today’s races belongs to Josh Hayes on the works Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha YZF-R1, and he was second quickest in the warm-up at 1:22.3. Third best was the second works Suzuki of Spanish ace Toni Elias, recovering from a Qualifying crash to turn a best lap of 1:22.5 around the 12 turn, 2.25 mil long New Jersey venue.
Mathew Scholtz continued his impressive weekend, fourth best in the warm-up on the Westby Racing/Yamalube entry, at 1:22.613. In the “class within a class” Superstock division of MotoAmerica, Scholtz was the fastest entry.
Italian ace Claudio Corti struggled on Saturday, but in the warm-up was fifth best aboard the HSBK Aprilia RSv4, also a Superstock class bike. Last month, Corti earned a pair of second place finished in Mopar CSBK National action at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, ON.
MotoAmerica Superbike Championship points leader Cameron Beaubier, another Saturday crasher, turned only three laps in the warm up with his works Yamaha, and was ninth best.
The two Canadians on hand both made it into the afternoon’s Superstock 600 round. In this morning’s Last Chance Qualifier ten lap race, Jeff Sneyd made up for yesterday’s frustrations, netting a strong second overall. Sneyd is a former Canadian National Superbike Feature race winner, coming back to racing after a 15-year retirement. Sneyd rides a recently purchased Black Sheep Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja.
On Saturday, Quebec’s Alex Coelho qualified well aboard his Liqui Moly Kawasaki, only to suffer engine issues early in the opening race. Coelho placed second overall in the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Canadian National class in his rookie Pro season,
After a busy evening of paddock repair, Coelho made it out to race, and although the machine was not 100%, once again qualified for the Final 600 race with a fourth place finish. The top five machines from this morning’s LCQ transferred to the final event.
Sunday, 11 September 2016 11:18 Published in News
2011 Mopar CSBK Canadian National Superbike Champion Brett McCormick of Saskatoon, SK, rode on a road race track for the first time in almost four years at Le Circuit Mount Tremblant in Quebec this week. A guest of Marc-Olivier Labelle’s Tremblant Superbike Track Day group, McCormick took part in three days of on-track activity at the famed and fast 4.26 km, 15 turn facility.
25-year-old McCormick used a Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja supplied by Ross Millson Racing, and tuned at Tremblant by Scott Cameron. The BMW Motorrad Canada squad that took McCormick to the National title five years ago included Cameron among the crew. The following year, McCormick went to Europe to ride World Superbike in 2012 for the Czech-based Effenbert Liberty Ducati team.
McCormick’s final race in 2012 was at the penultimate World Round at Portimao, Portugal, where he earned a close fifth in the wet opener and ninth in dry race two. After that, the squad folded, and McCormick opted to head home to study Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan.
Now entering his fourth year of post-secondary education, closing in on his degree, McCormick attended the most recent Mopar CSBK National event August 21 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario, and wanted to get back on a Superbike.
Support for the Tremblant trip came from Tremblant SBK, Ross Millson Racing, SC Motosport, Pro 6 and Shoei.
“There were two main goals with the trip,” explained McCormick following his last afternoon session on Wednesday, September 7. “One was to see if riding a fast bike on a fast track would still put a smile on my face, and two, to see if I still had a feel for the riding and tuning of a modern superbike.
“When I left the pit lane for the first time, I really felt like an alien, it took me a few laps to cruise around and get comfortable, finally get my knee on the ground after about three laps,” admitted McCormick. “But it was cool how quick it all came back.
“I have never had any trouble going from bike to bike, getting use to the handling and power delivery, then working to get the most from it,” continued McCormick. “I was impressed with the Kawasaki, sure it wasn’t a World Superbike, but it was fast and worked really well without much adjustment. Day one we were on a used front Dunlop slick and a new rear we put 40 laps on, and just trying to get comfortable. After that, we started to work through things, and it didn’t take much to get the chassis feel I prefer. Scott has worked with me before and we can get a lot done together.
“It was nice to remember the direction to go to get things working, and get the process going to make changes and evaluate them quickly. I was really happy with how much my feel came back, starting with the front end and then we got the rear working and could try some new tires and really have some fun.”
No official lap times were recorded, but observers say that McCormick was on the national Pro pace by mid-afternoon of his third day, when the pair opted to stop early and pack up.
McCormick now heads home for university, and is considering a return to Pro national-level road racing activity for the 2017 season.
Thursday, 08 September 2016 08:49 Published in News
Inside Motorcycles vintage race contributor Dave Minnett (Rockwood, ON), a regular competitor with the Vintage Road Racing Association (VRRA), stepped into the world of modern machinery when he competed as a guest media rider in the Kawasaki Ninja 300 Race Series doubleheader during the season-ending Canadian Superbike Championship double round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on the weekend of August 19-21.
After missing the Friday morning practice session, Minnett stepped in for the second session and slowly improved his lap times down to a best 1:47.07, sixth-best in the session. The other media reps in attendance were JP Schroeder, riding for CMG Online, and Jacob Black of Autotrader.ca. These two outlets had quite a good-natured online spitting match building up to the race weekend (thanks to CMG editor Mark Richardson), but after day one, Schroeder was the fastest of the journalists at 1:45.74, almost a second and a half ahead of Minnett. Black, whose pride far outmatches his motorcycle race experience, qualified 11th.
While the guest riders were on track to spread the word about the affordable Ninja 300 spec class to the public, there was a class full of real racers taking priority at the legendary track formerly known as Mosport. On that note, Windsor, NS teenager Brandon Pemberton was the fastest in practice with a 1:43.31.
Green machines head off after the lights drop in Saturday's race. IM rider Minnett qualified fifth.
Minnett improved to a 1:46.4 in Saturday morning's lone qualifying session, quickest of the journalists and good enough for fifth overall on the grid. Pemberton improved his time to a 1:43.04 but was outpaced by fellow teen Jared Walker (Oakville, ON), who set a new track record at 1:42.30. Eric Quintin (Ile Perot, QC) took third at 1:44.01.
During Saturday's official race (the first of two scheduled for the weekend), Minnett got a mediocre start but managed to remain in the top five for the majority of the race. He and Dartmouth, NS rider Patrick Pelletier lost ground to the top three of Walker, Pemberton and Quintin early on, but used the draft to make time back up on Quintin, and by the closing laps had caught up to the Quebec rider. After a smart pass in turn 8, Minnett held Quintin off by 0.090 seconds to earn third place, having run a best lap of 1:43.92, his best lap of the weekend. Walker reset his own track record to 1:42.16 and took the win four seconds ahead of Pemberton.
He may have crossed the line more than 20 seconds after winner Walker, but third place was as good as a victory for the humble but focused Minnett.
"Coming in, I said I would be happy with a top ten," said Minnett after the race. "Of course that was an outright lie, because even second place is only first loser, and we all want the top spot. The reality is that I had no idea what the competition was and whether or not I could make it to the top 5. Let's just say it was a very nice surprise to get there."
CMG Online's JP Schroeder finished in sixth, while Black finished tenth. Due to his "guest" status Minnett wasn't given the third place trophy, which went to Quintin.
Minnett stalks Eric Quintin and Patrick Pelletier exiting turn 3. He would eventually surpass both riders to take third place on Saturday.
On Sunday Minnett backed up his third-place finish the day before with a solid fifth while Walker, Pemberton and Quintin took the three podium spots, respectively. The race was red-flagged on lap seven when Autotrader.ca's Black lost control coming out of turn 10 and blasted into some hay bales at a high rate of speed. Black received a few bruises and cuts from the crash but was seen walking around trackside shortly after. CMG's Schroeder wound up sixth, giving Minnett a sweep of the media portion of the Ninja 300 Race Series doubleheader.
Minnett, a veteran of the track but mostly on vintage machinery, was impressed by the track capabilities of the Kawasaki Ninja 300. "It's quite impressive, really. Once the suspension was set for my weight (thanks John Sharrard), it handled quite well. There was still room for further development though, as I felt it wouldn't turn in as quick as I liked. But the Dunlop tires are surprisingly good and I never felt I was outriding them. After a couple of brisk warm-up laps to get some heat into them, they were always confidence-inspiring. The engine is surprisingly good for it's size and pulls very smoothly all the way to redline. The power shift feature is so convenient, especially when you want to maintain streamlining in the tucked position - no gear shift wrangling required!"
As far as commenting on the series itself, Minnett was even more impressed than he expected at the fun and competitiveness of the Kawasaki-only spec class. "Wow, what an awesome little machine and series to go with it!" said a smiling Minnett post-race. "This is a relatively low cost way to go racing. A set of tires will last two weekends, maybe more... the fuel is cheap, and because it's a spec class, the fun factor is just as high as on something far more expensive to maintain. Because it has modest power, the only way to decrease lap times is to stay off the brakes and stay on the throttle. I'm sure that a weekend on the baby Ninja has improved my cornering skills - just because there is no other way to make it go faster.
"Who knew 38 hp could be this much fun!"
Minnett was impressed by the track capabilities of the Ninja 300 and the fun competition the spec class offers.
The Kawasaki Ninja 300 Race Series continues in 2017 in conjunction with the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship national tour. For full results and final points standings, visit www.csbk.ca. For more on the Ninja 300 Race Series, visit www.kawasakiracing.ca
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 17:20 Published in Reports, Results & Points