An earthquake in motorcycle racing: six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea leaves Kawasaki in an unprecedented move to join Yamaha.  Between broken records and new alliances, the Superbike world faces an eventful future.

The farewell of a legend: Jonathan Rea leaves Kawasaki

The news that shook the motorcycling world: Jonathan Rea, six-time World Superbike (WorldSBK) champion, is parting ways with the Kawasaki Racing Team at the end of the 2023 season.  Although contracts were originally in place for the 2024 season, both parties are ending the collaboration by mutual agreement.

Rea’s career with Kawasaki was nothing short of spectacular.  He claimed a staggering six WorldSBK titles during his time with the team and broke numerous records, including the most wins (119), podiums (256) and points (6053.5) in WorldSBK history.


Commenting on Rea’s departure, Kawasaki team manager Guim Roda said, ” 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.”


Jonathan Rea himself looks back proudly on his time at Kawasaki: “This is not a goodbye, because you don’t say goodbye to family, but it is simply the end of this incredible chapter.”


The next step: Rea moves to Yamaha

While the ink is still drying on the separation paper, new contracts have already been signed.  Jonathan Rea will ride for the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Official Team from 2024.  And that for at least two years, as the contract confirms.  Rea will compete alongside Italian Andrea Locatelli.

Rea is not only the most successful WorldSBK rider in history, but also a real record holder.  With his move to Yamaha, he is looking to add another chapter to his impressive palmarès. 


Eric de Seynes, President and CEO of Yamaha Motor Europe, was enthusiastic: ” 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 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.”


What does the change mean for WorldSBK?

With this team change, WorldSBK is facing exciting times.  While Kawasaki loses one of its most important riders, Yamaha gains a true champion.  Whether Rea will manage to win a seventh title and thus extend his own record remains to be seen.  One thing is certain, however: The next few years in WorldSBK will definitely not be boring.

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