WorldSBK: Rea Leaving Kawasaki Mid-Contract To Join Yamaha

WorldSBK: Rea Leaving Kawasaki Mid-Contract To Join Yamaha

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Yamaha Motor Europe:

Jonathan Rea to Race for Yamaha in WorldSBK from 2024

Yamaha Motor Europe is pleased to announce that six-time FIM Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea will race alongside Andrea Locatelli in the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Official Team in 2024, having secured a two-year agreement with the Ulsterman.

Rea is the most successful WorldSBK rider of all time, winning six consecutive titles in an incredible period of dominance between 2015 and 2020. The records don’t stop there, as he also holds the highest number of victories in the class with 119, the most podiums (256), and fastest laps (102), all from a history-making 401 starts.

The Northern Irishman has also scored more points than anyone else in WorldSBK and has amassed over 6,000 since stepping up to the premier production class in 2008. On top of this, Rea also holds the record for the longest time between his first (Misano 2009) and last (Most 2023) wins, has 41 pole positions to his name and has been ever-present in the top three in the final WorldSBK Championship standings since 2014.

Despite his phenomenal career, Rea’s hunger for success has not diminished, and his aim is clear, to add to his record-breaking tally of victories and become the first rider to win seven WorldSBK titles.

Yamaha Motor Europe is delighted to have secured his services in a two-year deal. The new agreement will see Rea form a formidable partnership alongside Italian teammate Andrea Locatelli, with the duo competing onboard the highly competitive Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK R1 together until 2025.

Eric de Seynes: President & CEO, Yamaha Motor Europe

“We are very happy to welcome Jonathan to the Yamaha family and we are very much motivated to collaborate with him for the future. We have the same motivation to win, and the same passion for WorldSBK. Like him we have been world champions in recent years and we want to be back on the top of the box once again. Jonathan’s drive, determination and hunger for success have been constants throughout his career and these attributes will contribute to our future common success. We truly believe that Jonathan can add to his world championship tally, writing his name even larger in the history books, and we are equally confident that he can achieve this together with us. We are working hard to improve further our race proven Yamaha R1, to ensure that we provide Jonathan with exactly what he needs to achieve his and Yamaha’s goals in 2024 and 2025.”




More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Jonathan Rea To Leave KRT

Six time WorldSBK Champion, Jonathan Rea, will leave the Kawasaki Racing Team at the end of the 2023 season

Formally contracted for both the current and 2024 seasons, Rea will be released from this agreement by mutual consent at the end of the racing season. During his time riding for the official factory team, 36 year old Rea achieved an unprecedented haul of six WorldSBK titles as well as accruing a slew of other records including all-time WorldSBK records for Championships, Race Wins, Podiums, Fastest Laps and Overall Points Scored.

Speaking of Rea’s departure, Guim Roda, Team Manager of KRT, said:

“In life as well as racing,  priorities define the path to follow. I am very happy and proud that during these nine years Johnny has defined his priorities with KRT and has given us so many successes. I consider myself, our team, Kawasaki and all our fans worldwide, privileged to have been part of this journey.  Whichever direction he goes in the future, I hope he can continue to grow as a rider. The task we have now is to finish the 2023 season as best we can with the tools we have been able to forge this year. As always, we will continue to look for improvements and seek advantage wherever possible. KRT is committed to putting on a good show with Johnny during his last four races on the formidable and impressive Ninja ZX-10RR that he has become synonymous with”.

Jonathan Rea reflected on his time at KRT saying: 

“I want to thank everyone at KMC and KRT for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to prove myself at the highest level. I have learnt and grown so much as a person and a rider since the first day throwing my leg over the factory Ninja ZX-10R superbike.

Winning six consecutive WorldSBK Championships will always be the most obvious highlight of my time with Kawasaki; but it will also be the amazing memories, the life lessons and the laughs that I will take with me into the future. And, for sure, it’s our mission to complete the 2023 season as strongly and with as much commitment as we have always shown.

Now, looking back on our journey, it fills me with pride at the joy and happiness we have brought Kawasaki fans and Kawasaki owners around the world. This is not a goodbye, because you don’t say goodbye to family, but it is simply the end of this incredible chapter. I wish everyone at KRT the best of luck for the chapters that will surely follow. See you at the track”

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