2023 Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10RR focus on street appeal and racing success

POSTED: 06/02/2023

For the Ninja ZX-10R model so loved by both street riders and track day enthusiasts, many of the most recent updates remain in place with an impressive maximum power of 149.3 kW {203PS} available that is boosted to 156.8 kW {213PS} with the aid of Kawasaki’s world-famous Ram Air.

In terms of aerodynamics and WorldSBK derived technology, the ZX-10R retains its integrated winglets for increased downforce and cornering precision while the Kawasaki Racing Team developed air-cooled oil-cooler also remains in place.

An array of electronic rider aids – thanks to the integration of a Bosch IMU – cover all aspects of machine control including cornering management, S-KTRC sport traction control, launch control, integrated braking plus engine brake control and selectable power modes and an up-down quick shifter and electronic cruise control. Riders can also link their Smartphone to the colour TFT meter using Kawasaki ‘s own Rideology App. 

With an engine that includes finger follower valve actuation (tech shared with the KX450 motocross machine), the Ninja ZX-10R rider can rely on the smoothness and accuracy of electronic throttle valves while riding feedback and racer-like precision is delivered thanks to SHOWA’s BFF (Balance Free Front Fork) up front while rear suspension duties are covered by Horizontal Back-link Rear Suspension with Showa BFRC lite (Balance Free Rear Cushion).

For racers and race teams, the Ninja ZX-10RR has been a point of focus since its introduction and the big news for 2023 is the VAI or Variable Air Intake system. Fitted inside the airbox, the VAI system uses a set of movable intake funnels to alter the intake funnel height.  When the VAI funnels are raised, intake air bypasses the system for optimal high-rpm performance; when lowered, intake air passes through the taller intake funnels, for increased low-mid range performance.  Movement of the funnels is regulated by servos to maximise output at all rpm. 

As standard, the new ZX-10RR has the funnels set in a static upper position and for many riders this will be all they require. However, for racers competing in National and International Championships, the VAI system will be another welcome addition to the Ninja ZX-10RR spec that also includes Pankl precision engine parts, a higher rev limit than the standard Ninja ZX-10R and unique Marchesini wheels.

To activate the VAI feature, racing customers will require certain racing kit parts including a race-kit ECU, loom and sub-controller.  VAI is not activated as standard and is not available for those who wish to own and use a Ninja ZX-10RR on public roads.

Both the Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10RR look to 2023 with optimism, the road machine with its legendary personality and edge, while the ZX-10RR in the hands of KRT and other skilled riders seeks to make the racing top spot its own once again. 

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