World Superbike Champion visits Kawasaki Factory for special presentation
March 11, 2016
Reigning World SBK Champion, Jonathan Rea, recently visited the Kawasaki’s Akashi plant near Kobe in Japan as a VIP guest.
KHI – Jonathan what does a visit like this represent to you?
JR - I lead a busy life with my racing and testing commitments plus my wife and I have recently celebrated the birth of our second child. That said, I relish any chance I get to meet people from the Kawasaki family – especially those at the factory who play a part in making the dream of racing success become reality.
The link between KHI and the Kawasaki Racing Team is close in terms of development and feedback. Anyone can see how strong that bond is and the evidence for Kawasaki fans is the new Ninja ZX-10R created as part of that partnership.
KHI – You also visited parts of the Akashi complex during your tour and did some work in the wind tunnel, tell us about that.
JR – The Akashi plant is huge, in fact it’s hard to imagine how vast it is and the area it covers. Just one of the many buildings houses the wind tunnel. It’s a place I am familiar with having tested various possible upgrades and aerodynamic solutions there in the past. As
part of this visit I helped test some new ideas as well as having the time to thank the wind tunnel staff for their work.
The room itself is very large and the motorcycle is rigidly mounted in front of a flume that produces the charge of air. In racing we are always looking for that extra edge
KHI - Tell us about this gift from KHI Jonathan
JR – I have to say I was not expecting a gift so it did come as quite a surprise I have to admit. Mr Tomida very generously presented me with an authentic replica of a Samurai helmet in a presentation case in recognition of achieving the World Superbike title with KRT in 2015.
The quality and workmanship is amazing and perhaps only fitting after what I witnessed in the factory in terms of precision and attention to detail. I have a plan to create a special place for my most treasured trophies and awards. This gift from KHI is at the centre of that plan and will take pride of place in the display to remind me of a very special moment in my racing career so far.
KHI – Finally Jonathan, please tell us about the other areas of KHI that you had some insight into during your time at Akashi.
JR – To be honest it’s is almost too much to take in during such a brief visit. I took the chance to see exhibits in a museum area that represented the breadth and heritage of Kawasaki shipbuilding enterprises that stretches back to the origins of the company.
It does not stop there though; things like rolling stock, aircraft and civil engineering projects such as the Akashi suspension bridge nearby are evidence of the scale of KHI engineering skill.
Thank you Jonathan Rea, 2015 World Superbike Champion.