Jonathan Rea, rider for the Kawasaki Racing Team at the WorldSBK, has signed for two more years and will race in the green color also in 2023 and 2024.
The Northern Irish has five wins in the current season, and is second in the championship with 229 points, just 17 points behind the leader, Alvaro Bautista (Ducati).
Rea joined the WorldSBK squad in 2008 with Ten Kate Honda Team, taking his first victory at Misano in 2009. He took another 14 wins for Honda before moving to Kawasaki. The statistics since then are really fascinating: six WorldSBK titles, 102 wins, 186 podiums, 33 poles and 88 fastest laps.
Speaking about his contract extension, Rea said: “I am really happy and excited to renew my contract with Kawasaki, to roll on for two more years. It has been an incredible partnership; we have enjoyed so much success together that it is almost a natural progression. There was not much negotiation needed to continue together from both sides. It was more a case of how much more motivation I had to keep racing at the highest level in the WorldSBK Championship.
“It has been an incredible few seasons; more competitive than ever. I have realised how motivated I am to continue and to continue fighting to win. Kawasaki gave me the opportunity back in 2015 to realise a childhood dream when I won the WorldSBK championship in the first year together. As a partnership we are so solid, and I am looking forward to continue making memories and representing an incredible manufacturer and brand.”
Continuing about his renewal, Rea commented: “My team is my racing family. I love everyone inside the team like my own family and relationships like that count for a lot in racing. Huge credit goes to every single person in the staff, from Provec Racing, all the engineers in Japan, and everyone in the Kawasaki family. I am excited to see what we can do over the next two seasons.”
Team manager Guim Roda said: “Since we signed Jonny for the 2015 season, and until now, we have written a nice part of WorldSBK’s history. We are so proud to be part of this Rea success story, which also means, Kawasaki’s success story. It’s going on eight seasons together now, and Jonny has been performing at the maximum, always. Nowadays, and at the age of 35, he is in his best shape, and we know there’s still a lot of dancing left to be done.
“We have been working hard to define, with KMC, which kind of project we could create for Jonny to allow him to keep pushing at 110%. I think we gave him the motivation he needed to go for it for two more years. We can never rest on our laurels of our successful past, so we will have a hard job to cover his expectations. We are ready for that. We guarantee it will be a real show for at least two more years.”
Anyway, the WorldSBK returns from July 29 to 31, with the Czech round.
For more info, access the WorldSBK website.