26 March 2021 FS-3 Racing Kawasaki 2021 Preview – Part Two

In this second part of our FS-3 Racing Kawasaki season preview, we sit down with the two FS-3 Kawasaki Crew Chiefs, Ian Prestwood and Matt Llewelyn, who have both been working hard over the winter to get the all-new 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR Superbikes ready for the opening test in April. 
Ian Prestwood
You joined the team in 2020 to work alongside Lee, how was your first year with the team?
“It’s been brilliant working with the FS-3 team and Lee. I’ve known him for a long time, and I’ve been working in the BSB paddock for a number of years, so have been lucky enough to work across a really wide variety of machines.
Lee had a fantastic season last year, and I think he surprised a few people. I think this year, he will be able to take another big step forward and be regularly challenging for the podium and race wins.
The Kawasaki ZX-10RR that we used last year was a fantastic bike, as both Lee and Danny showed with their results, it also seems to suit a lot of the British circuits. This season we’ve got the all-new 2021 ZX-10RR which we took delivery of towards the end of the year, and since then, we’ve been flat out getting the bike ready.”
What have your first impressions been of the bike?
“From what we’ve seen so far ourselves and the feedback from the World Superbike tests, the new machine looks great. The biggest change is certainly in the appearance, but the engine has also had some upgrades which should suit the BSB tracks.
The engine is strong already, so the modifications we’re making to the bike are quite minimal as the base package is so good. Certain aspects of the bike are different, though, so it will take some time during testing to get a true picture of what it is capable of.
This new bike revs higher, which should be a big help for us this year. Although it will mean we will need to start afresh in terms of gearing for particular circuits, we should be able to start with a base from the data we had in 2020.”
Are you looking forward to going testing?
“Absolutely! The new machine has improved on all of the areas we wanted it, and we’re all really excited to getting testing on it. After such a long winter, it will take a little while to get up to speed, and that first day will be all about getting Lee comfortable and the team back working together.
From there, we will be able to start working on different aspects of the bike, and we’ve already got some ideas in place of what we want to try.”
Matt Llewellyn
You’ve been with the team since the beginning, how have you found working with them?
“The team are fantastic to work with, and it’s been great to be part of the journey since day one. From the beginning, when we were running as a one man team, it’s been great to grow and secure the team’s first BSB win and Showdown position.
For the past few seasons, I’ve been working with Danny Buchan, and I’m really excited to be with Rory for 2021. There’s obviously quite a bit of difference between Danny and Rory in terms of size, and Rory is also a rookie on the Superbike, so it will certainly be a different challenge, but I’ve been really impressed from what we’ve seen so far.
He is really eager and is willing to learn, so I’m confident we’re going to have a great year. It’s also really good to have a two-year deal, as it means we can take our time this year and build on it for 2022.”
What’s been your first impression of the new ZX-10RR?
“The new bike looks fantastic and has improved in every aspect that we wanted it to. As it is more evolution than revolution, it means we are not having to start from the beginning, so we can hit the ground running using the knowledge we have of the previous bike.
One of the biggest new aspects of the bike is the aerodynamics package. We saw on some of the other bikes the benefit that their wings gave them, so the new aero should help the riders keep the bike more planted and allow them to get more power down.
The World Superbike team has already shown how capable the bike can be, so I’m looking forward to going testing and getting the bike on track for the first time.”
What are you looking forward to most this season?
“I think seeing the progress we make with the new bike is going to be exciting, and I’m really looking forward to working with Rory. There is no denying his speed and talent, so our goal is to help him get used to the bigger capacity machine and ensure he can show everyone that talent.
It’s a fresh challenge, but he’s already been putting the miles in on his Superstock bike and from what we’ve seen, he’s adapting to the 1000cc very well, so I’m confident we can have a great season!”