The FIM Supersport World Championship (WorldSSP) became a full status FIM World Championship back in 1999 and all the main Japanese manufacturers have had won the title along the way. Kawasaki scored top spot in 2001 with Andrew Pitt and then Kenan Sofuoglu won the title for Kawasaki in 2012, 2015 and last season in 2016.
The first Kawasaki race winner in the full FIM WSS Championship came along in the first race of the 1999 season, British rider Iain Macpherson. Andrew Pitt, Fabien Foret, Joan Lascorz, Broc Parkes and Randy Krummenacher have also posted race wins on the middleweight Ninja. Kawasaki has scored 35 individual race wins since 1999.
Like 2016 there will be a two-tier championship inside the overall WorldSSP entry. Some teams will only compete in the European-based rounds of the championship; some will do the full 12 rounds from Australia to Qatar, and a healthy grid is already confirmed. Last year WorldSSP races – one per weekend – will appear at almost all the same rounds as the full Superbike category, with only the American round at Laguna Seca missing from the 2016 campaign trail in the middleweight class.
As always, the chassis of a supersport machine must remain largely as standard, engine tuning is tightly regulated and the control tyres must be approved for highway use – to keep the link to roadbikes as close as possible. Last year’s limited electronic regulations made the championship more open at the top end but Kawasaki was still the champion in both riders’ and manufacturers’ competitions.