Kawasaki confirms Szoke, Dion split ahead of junior high finals
Toronto, ACTIVE – Kawasaki’s much-anticipated factory program consisting of Jordan Szoke and Trevor Dion has come to an early end, as the two finalized plans to make separate attempts at the final of the Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship in Shannonville later this month.
The split has been described as an amicable split, with both sides agreeing to go their separate ways for the fifth round of the GP Bikes Pro Superbike class onwards.
Szoke will maintain the status quo over his factory Ninja ZX-10R machine, albeit with a change of sponsor as he continues the official Kawasaki Canada program from SMP. The 14-time champion currently sits fifth in the overall standings, scoring a first-round podium.
The biggest change comes with Dion, who will stay on Kawasaki engines for the end of the season but now as a privateer with ongoing support from LDS Consultants.
The 21-year-old rider will be running his privately owned 2019 Ninja ZX-10R in the Superbike features category, a bike he has been testing throughout the 2023 campaign in between national rounds, but perhaps more importantly will also return to the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike. grid for the season finale.
Dion won the Sport Bike championship a year ago riding an LDS Consultants Kawasaki, becoming the first rookie in class history to do so and the third youngest ever champion, before joining Szoke prior to this season for his first full Superbike venture.
While it’s been a frustrating year for the feature class newcomer, sitting eleventh in the overall standings, Dion has shown flashes of brilliance – including a podium finish at Grand Bend – and remains in the middle of Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Battle this year, trails John Fraser and Paul Macdonell by just eight points.
Both Dion and Szoke will continue to play important roles in the Constructors’ Championship for Kawasaki, where the brand looks to erase their 32-point deficit from Yamaha to take third place in the overall standings.
Despite his change of plans in Superbikes, Dion’s return to the Sport Bike class will be his first appearance since taking the #1 plate at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park a year ago – a number he can now wear on his Ninja ZX-6R machine. .
“After winning it last season, I am quite excited to be the number one winner in the national event, even if it’s only one round,” said Dion. “Obviously Superbike will still be my main focus this weekend, but I’m excited to get back on the Sport Bike and have fun after having some of the best races of my career in the class last season.”
The defending champion will not be able to defend his title but could play a key role in deciding the 2023 crown, with David MacKay currently leading Matt Simpson by just 16 points. Ironically, it was MacKay who came closest to Dion one year ago, losing the championship by just eight points after a botched last-round comeback.
The final round of the Bridgestone CSBK season is scheduled for September 15-17 at Shannonville Motorsport Park, just east of Belleville, Ontario, with the Superbike tripleheader poised to decide the 2023 crown.
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