Jonathan Rea leaves Kawasaki for Yamaha, ending contract
Posted : 04 September 2023
Jonathan Rea, the six-time World Superbike champion from Northern Ireland, is set to leave Kawasaki at the end of the 2023 season after a nine-year association and make a switch to Yamaha. This move comes as a mutual agreement between Rea and Kawasaki, ending his contract with one year remaining.
Rea, who has clinched all of his world titles between 2015 and 2020 with Kawasaki, expressed his gratitude for the fruitful partnership. He mentioned the numerous accomplishments, life lessons, and cherished memories that have defined his time with Kawasaki, with the six consecutive WorldSBK Championships standing out as a significant highlight. He also reaffirmed his commitment to finishing the 2023 season strongly.
The transition to Yamaha will see Rea join the Pata Yamaha team alongside Andrea Locatelli in 2024. He is set to take the place of Toprak Razgatlioglu, who is moving to BMW.
Rea's recent World Superbike performances have been marked by a deficit in straight-line speed, particularly in comparison to Yamaha and Ducati machines. Despite this, he managed to secure one win out of 24 races in the 2023 championship, emphasizing the competitiveness of the series. Alvaro Bautista, the reigning champion, currently holds a significant lead in the standings, with Razgatlioglu and Rea trailing behind.
As the most successful rider in World Superbike history, Rea boasts an impressive record of 119 career race wins and 256 podium finishes in his 401 races to date. Notably, 15 of these victories came during his tenure with the Honda team from 2009 to 2014, while the rest were achieved in his remarkable partnership with Kawasaki since 2015. This transition to Yamaha marks a new chapter in Rea's illustrious career.