The result is ferociously fast Ninja which despite being slightly heavier than the previous model (due to those Euro 4 mods) is also easier to ride, largely due to its sharper steering and ultra-refined electronics. The Kawasaki revs harder than ever, leaping forward with stunning urgency as its rev-counter bar flicks towards the 14,000rpm redline through the gears, the acceleration boosted by a quick-shifter which, slightly disappointingly, works on up-changes only. Midrange performance is very strong but like the previous model this ZX-10R is slightly flat below 7,000rpm, which isn’t ideal for road riding when combined with the tall first gear.
Once into its stride that rev-happy powerplant is brilliantly tamed by the Ninja’s race-developed traction control system. This more advanced system, which combines Bosch’s sensor unit with Kawasaki’s own software, keeps the bike on the edge of grip when accelerating at severe lean angles, then holds the front wheel just off the ground for maximum acceleration under full throttle. Unlike some superbikes the track-focused ZX-10R has no semi-active suspension option, but its high-quality Showa units combine excellent damping control with a very smooth action. And that updated Brembo system gives plenty of braking ability, backed up by sophisticated ABS.