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Jonathan Rea steels himself for emotional Kawasaki swansong at Jerez WorldSBK finale

Gold & Goose
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 2023 WorldSBK, Portimao, portrait, grid [Gold & Goose]

Jonathan Rea says he will try to get his head down and focus on bringing an overall top three result home for the Kawasaki Racing Team in what will be his final outing with the factory squad.

The Ulsterman brings his record-breaking tenure with the Japanese manufacturer to an end this weekend at the 2023 WorldSBK finale in Jerez after nine hugely successful seasons.

In that time, Rea has achieved an extraordinary six WorldSBK titles, 104 race wins, 39 pole positions and 220 podiums on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR.


2023 WorldSBK Championship Standings

However, a new era beckons for Rea as he prepares to make the switch to Yamaha for the 2024 WorldSBK Championship season, replacing BMW-bound Toprak Razgatlioglu.

While he is in no doubt that this will be an emotional weekend for him, he remains committed to seeing off Andrea Locatelli in the fight for third in the overall standings.

“It is a strange feeling going to Jerez knowing that it is my last round with KRT and I am sure it is going to be an emotional weekend together with the staff. 

“On track we will try to do the best job we can. It is a track that perhaps has been a difficult one for us but we have also shared some great times there, winning races. It was also the scene of winning my first World Championship for Kawasaki. 

“We do a lot of laps there in the winter tests so we have a good idea of set-up. Of course, the Ninja ZX-10RR has evolved throughout the year and we have made steps in a positive direction. I really want to finish the year strongly for my team. We are still fighting for third place in the championship. 

“The big target of the weekend is to enjoy riding the bike and do the best job we can but also to ensure we deliver that top three in the World Championship. I want to really try to enjoy the weekend with my team. 

“All the build up to the weekend, all the weekend, and of course post-race, reflecting on what an amazing partnership it has been - I am sure it is going to be an emotional one. I hope I can give a good account of myself and do the team proud.”

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