News 4 Sep 2023

Six-time WorldSBK champion Rea heading to Yamaha in 2024

Kawasaki Racing Team and all-time great to part ways at end of season.

Image: Supplied.

Pata Yamaha has signed Jonathan Rea for the 2024 Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK), the six-time world champion exiting Kawasaki and heading to replace BMW-bound Toprak Razgatlioglu in a two-year deal.

Rea, 36, has been linked to a shock switch throughout much of the silly season after fellow former champion Razgatlioglu signed for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team in May.

Now, directly following the Kawasaki Racing Team’s confirmation that Rea will leave the factory team at the end of the season despite already being contracted for another term, Yamaha has officially announced that Rea will be onboard a YZF-R1M come next year.

“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,” Rea commented. “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.”

Yamaha Motor Europe president and CEO Eric de Seynes added: “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 attibutes 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.”

During his time riding for Kawasaki, Rea achieved an unprecedented haul of six WorldSBK titles between 2015-2020, as well as accruing a mixture of other WorldSBK records including all-time championships, race wins, podiums, fastest laps and overall points scored.