Although this title could have been used several years ago, Kawasaki’s recent announcement that it is leaving 750cc class World Superbike racing is perhaps the nail in the coffin for the 750 class. Several die-hards have been waiting too patiently for Kawasaki to replace its aged ZX-7R, and the wait is over, because there is nothing to wait for.
It is a shame, in many ways, because 750s are, in the minds of many, the best compromise between the nimbleness of a 600, and the power of an open-classer. Although Suzuki is hanging in there, Yamaha did not field a factory WSB team this year, even though its R7 is a relatively new design.
It is hard to blame Kawasaki and Yamaha, because 1000cc V-twins dominate WSB racing, and four-stroke GP racing is just around the corner. Honda, of course, ultimately abandoned the 750 class to build its own 1000cc V-twin, and promptly won the WSB championship with it under Colin Edwards.
Talk of correcting the inequity (including allowing 750cc machines a capacity boost to 830cc) in WSB racing has apparently been fruitless, and 750s will continue to struggle against the V-twins next year.
WSB racing may ultimately pit 1000cc machines of all engine configurations against one another — so that R1s and GSX-R1000s will go head-to-head with the V-twins from Ducati and Honda. Expect something like this in the 2003 season. It appears to be the only way the WSB organizers and promoters will keep Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki interested in their series.