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Kawasaki test riders debut screamer engine

Kawasaki test riders debut screamer engine

Kawasaki's decision to debut an all-new ‘screamer' engine at the Sepang test was an early surprise from ‘Team Green'.

Kawasaki's decision to debut an all-new ‘screamer' engine at the Sepang test was an early surprise from ‘Team Green'. Test rider Tamaki Serizawa was the man in charge of giving the even firing order motor, developed in secret over the winter testing ban period, its maiden outing at the Malaysian circuit.

The Japanese rider attracted the interest of fellow riders, including regular Kawasaki competitors John Hopkins and Anthony West, when he let loose the engine with a distinctive high pitched exhaust note.

Fellow test rider Olivier Jacque also had a turn with the screamer engine, taking over from Serizawa in the afternoon. However, whilst the new development has now undergone its first shakedown test, it is unlikely that it will be passed down to Hopkins and West in the foreseeable future.

"We're still in the very early stages with the screamer motor, and it's going to take some time for the test team riders to get this engine to a point where we can hand it over to John and Anthony to test," explains Technical Manager Naoya Kaneko.

"An even firing order offers a number of advantages over a big-bang version of the same engine," adds the long-time Kawasaki collaborator. "Peak power is better, and the even firing order means that the engine is not stressed as hard at high revs. Of course, there are disadvantages as well, with the main one being that driveability is more difficult to control when you don't give the rear tyre time to recover between power pulses.

"But in the past year we've seen a reduction in capacity from 990cc to 800cc, which has also meant a reduction in outright power. We've also seen improvements in tyre technology, and taming the power delivery has become easier through the use of more refined electronic systems on the bike. These factors mean that it is now feasible to extract the advantages from a screamer engine, such as the increased power, while overcoming the disadvantages through tyres and electronics."

The fastest Kawasaki rider of the day was newcomer Hopkins, who was fifth quickest in the final day standings. West suffered an early crash, but still managed 39 laps onboard the more orthodox Ninja ZX-RR.

MotoGP, 2008, Kawasaki Racing Team

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