Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar is the new name for Webike SRC Kawasaki France, which competed with considerable success in the EWC under Gilles Stafler’s guidance prior to the respected team owner taking the decision to retire at the completion of the 2022 season and put his operation up for sale.
Ryuji Tsuruta completed the takeover of Stafler’s SRC team in partnership with the Japanese River Crane (Webike) and Motohouse Co organisations earlier this year.
With increased backing from Kawasaki Motors Japan, Tsuruta has entered the 2023 EWC under the Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar banner but has kept the familiar #11 as well as continuing to count on the services of de Puniet, a member of the SRC rider squad in 2022, plus Japan’s Kazuki Watanabe and French rising talent Christophe Ponsson.
“First of all, I’m so happy and honoured to receive this opportunity to continue my adventure with Kawasaki and the EWC for another year,” said the 42-year-old de Puniet. “As I have a long history with Kawasaki through MotoGP and EWC, it’s very special for me that I can stay with them again.
“To be honest I was so shocked when we heard that SRC will terminate their EWC project, but so glad that it has been taken over by Tsuruta-san and launched the new team.”
While de Puniet remains at the peak of his powers, he concedes that time is not on his side in terms of achieving more success in the EWC.
“Concerning my age, it can be also my last challenge in my career,” he said. “I have a huge ambition even more than before to win every single race and to win the EWC title, and I’m really excited about it.
“The team is new, but the advantage is that Tsuruta-san keeps the structure, continues the same direction and same aim as SRC, while trying to add what was missing. It has to be also noted that we will be fully supported by Kawasaki Europe and Kawasaki Japan, which is of course another strong point of the team.
“I’m sure that the team will be very competitive and I’m confident that we have a good potential so cannot wait for the opening round in Le Mans in April.”