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Tommy Hayden: “ZX-6RR Big Advantage on the Brakes”

As I sat in a conference room in Las Vegas Friday morning, contemplating the fact that our track test of the 2003 Kawasaki ZX-6R and ZX-6RR models had just been cancelled due to rain, I wondered how to kill the time left before my rescheduled flight would leave for Southern California. I noticed Kawasaki roadracer Tommy Hayden in the room, so I decided to see if I could vicariously ride the new supersport through Tommy’s recent experience at Daytona.

Chatting with Tommy for a few moments revealed some interesting things about the new 6RR (the 598cc supersport-legal machine). From Tommy’s perspective, at least, the front brake system (featuring radial mounted brake calipers) is “the best I have ever used, including superbike, and we were using the stock brake pads.”

Hayden also brought up the slipper clutch on the 6RR, which is three-way adjustable, and described the brakes and slipper clutch as a “package” that would give Kawasaki a distinct advantage in AMA supersport racing . . . while hard on the brakes entering corners.

Hayden also likes the new, more aggressive ergonomics of the bike, because it places more rider weight over the front wheel. He did indicate the smaller fairing provided less wind protection at the ultra-high speed Daytona circuit, requiring a tighter tuck from the rider.

Although we hope to get our hands on at least one of these new Kawasakis soon, for now you can look at our coverage of the European track intro.