Jonathan Rea felt ‘indebted’ to Kawasaki

Rea was already a regular winner in his first five WSBK seasons with Honda, but it was the move to Kawasaki in early 2015 that put him on the list of all-time motorcycle racing greats.

From the start of the partnership, Rea became the dominant force in the WSBK, winning a record six trotting titles and more than 100 races to establish himself as the most successful rider in the history of the production-based class.

Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu managed to end Ulsterman’s winning streak last year, but Rea remains one of the best riders in the championship and is currently locked in a close battle with the Turkish rider and Alvaro Bautista of Ducati in pursuit of a seventh world championship.

Before the start of the summer break, Rea signed a new contract with Kawasaki which will keep him at the WSBK until the end of the 2024 season, extending his tenure with the brand to at least 10 years.

Although there have been some rumors of a potential Kawasaki departure, the 36-year-old says he has always been keen to continue his success with the team, with his title loss to Razgatlioglu further motivating him to win back. the crown.

“I can’t forget that my childhood dream when I was five on a motocross bike was to be world champion,” Rea said at the Most weekend.

“I watched [motocross star] Jeremy McGrath and Kawasaki gave me this opportunity in 2015, so I’m indebted to them. We have a very beautiful history together.

“When you come from a winning mentality… okay, last year we lost to Toprak, another great champion, bred [level] pilot, it made me want to continue, to continue to attack.

“I’m excited about the challenge of not only next year but the remaining races as well. [of 2022].”

Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK

Photo by: Gold and Goose/Motorsport Images

Rea explained that contract negotiations with Kawasaki were straightforward, but he sought information on its future development plans, having at times felt that it had fallen behind rivals Yamaha and Ducati in the development race.

“There weren’t a lot of negotiations,” he said. “The biggest thought was that I didn’t want to talk about my off-season future.

“I [also] I wanted to get a good understanding of Kawasaki’s long term plans with 23 and 24 coming up because we need to improve the bike and the championship needs a lot of commitment.

“After that it was pretty automatic, pretty easy because there’s not a lot of negotiation between people, financial demands or anything.

“It’s just okay, ‘How’s the future going to be? Am I still motivated? ‘My family is still all good?’ ‘Okay, let’s sign’. It’s an incredible team, an incredible group of people .

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