The ex-works, Kawasaki France, Adrien Morillas
1987 Kawasaki GPX750R Superbike
Engine no. ZX750FE022122
Kawasaki's all-new contender for the hyper-competitive 750 class - the GPX750R - was launched in mid-1986. Smaller, lighter, and more powerful than its GPZ750R predecessor, the newcomer was a worthy rival for Suzuki's GSX-R, Yamaha's FZ and Honda's VFR. Before long this sale-room rivalry had extended to the race tracks with the arrival of the World Superbike Championship in 1988. The Championship's inaugural year would prove to be extraordinarily hard-fought, the title ultimately being decided by the outcome of the final round in New Zealand, Honda-mounted Fred Merkel emerging as Champion, with Yamaha's Fabrizio Pirovano second and Bimota's Davide Tardozzi third. Just 8.5 points separated the top four riders after 17 races.
WSB's first year saw all six main manufacturers (the Japanese 'Big Four' plus Ducati and Bimota) take wins, Kawasaki's sole visit to the rostrum's top step being courtesy of Adrien Morillas' victory in the second race in Hungary, achieved on the GPX750R offered here. This was the one and only GPX750R win in World Superbike, and Kawasaki would not achieve another WSB victory until 1990. An ex-motocross racer, Morillas came to road-racing at the ripe old age of 28, winning the French National 500cc Championship in 1986. In 1988 he signed for Kawasaki France, a team whose main priority was the World Endurance Championship, finishing a surprise third at the Suzuka 8 Hours in his debut season. World Superbike was something of a sideline for the team, but Morillas' Godier/Genoud-prepared GPX750R proved good enough around the tight Hungaroring to beat Stephane Mertens' Bimota by half a wheel in Race 2. Also ridden by Eric Delcamp and Emmanuel Lentaigne, the GPX was soon retired from the world stage and finished its career in the French National Superbike Championship, which it contested in 1988 and '89.
This historic Kawasaki superbike was purchased by the lady vendor's late father at Bonhams' Stafford sale in October 2004 (Lot 396) and since acquisition has been kept in dry storage. Finished in red - its 1988 WSB livery - the machine is pictured on page 19 of World Superbike Winners by Julian Ryder (Haynes, 2000). It is offered with a detailed Rapport d'Expertise (appraisal) prepared in November 2000 by Conseil Auto, of Eaubonne, for Kawasaki Motors in France. The machine was serviced by Kawasaki France mechanics immediately prior to sale in March 2002 and this is the last occasion it ran. A unique opportunity to acquire a piece of Kawasaki and World Superbike Championship History at a most affordable price.
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The ex-works, Kawasaki France, Le Mans class-winning
1987 Kawasaki GPX750 Prototype
Frame no. 001-87
Engine no. ZX750FE008985
The French have always been passionate about endurance racing, be it on two wheels or four, but then that's hardly surprising given the international status of the Le Mans 24-Hour Race. In long-distance motorcycle racing, French riders have dominated the premier series from its inception as the FIM Coupe d'Endurance in 1975 - won by Georges Godier and Alain Genoud on a Kawasaki - through to the Endurance World Championship of today. Japanese manufacturers have been happy to let French satellite or importer teams fly the flag for them in World Endurance, Kawasaki's long-term representation in the series being the responsibility of Kawasaki France, a member of the C Itoh group of companies. The Le Mans 24-Hour Race did not form part of the Endurance World Championship in 1987 (the French classic ran to its own rules that year) but nevertheless because of its status attracted works teams from major manufacturers, including Honda who were not contesting the Championship itself. The race was open to 1100s, superbikes, experimentales and prototypes, Kawasaki France's entry in the latter class being a Georges Godier-prepared GPX750 - the machine offered here - that featured an experimental aluminium-alloy frame in place of the roadster's steel item. Ridden by Pierre-Etienne Samin, Pierre Bolle and Thierry Crine, the lone GPX was involved in a night-time crash on spilled oil that brought down four other machines including Gerard Coudray's works Honda. Rider-at-the-time Samin was too injured to continue but the GPX was repaired and eventually finished fourth, some 15 laps adrift of winners D Sarron/Battistini/Mattioli on a works Honda. But for the crash, the works GPX might well have won outright, but victory in the Prototype Class provided a measure of consolation. Also ridden by Marco Gentile, Adrien Morillas and Jean-Yves Mounier, the bike contested the Suzuka 8 Hours and Bol d'Or in 1987, achieving 5th place in the former and a 'DNF' in the latter, before being retired from duty.
Finished in Kawasaki France's classic team livery of green/white/red, this unique ex-works prototype is equipped with 'usd' forks, AP-Lockheed racing brakes and Marchesini 3-spoke wheels shod with Michelin slicks. It is offered with a detailed Rapport d'Expertise (appraisal) prepared in November 2000 by Conseil Auto, of Eaubonne, for Kawasaki Motors France, authenticating the machine and its competition record, and stating that it has been rebuilt to original specification by KMF technicians. The vendor advises us that the machine was serviced by Kawasaki Motors France mechanics immediately prior to sale in March 2002 and that this is the last occasion it ran. A rare opportunity to acquire a unique, ex-works, prototype racing motorcycle with significant competition history.