Jonathan Rea made his first appearance in blue at the start of the week as he did the Jerez WorldSBK test for Paul Denning's Pata Yamaha. However, the team boss remains intrigued as to what is in store for the new partnership.
The biggest switch for the 2024 World Superbike season is Jonathan Rea leaving Kawasaki after eight seasons to join rival manufacturer, Yamaha. Rea had many battles against Yamaha while racing in green but will line up on the 2024 WorldSBK grid in blue!
Pata Yamaha boss, Paul Denning, discussed with WorldSBK.com the latest arrival to his team after the first day of the two day test at Jerez earlier this week.
“I’m really excited! It’s a very short transition I have to say, from the emotion of Sunday and 24 hours later, taking pictures of Jonathan Rea sat on our bike,” started Denning.
“It’s kind of surreal, almost too quick a transition – also for him, to be jumping out of green after eight years. However, here we are, they are the logistics, we’re here at the test and I couldn’t be more excited.
"We had a great day yesterday, like an introduction day, working together in a physical way. I am absolutely intrigued to see what today and what the next day brings as part of the first part of the journey.”
Denning also made no secret that his team and Rea have had a long time rivalry and how it all still feels strange at the moment to have his long time rival sat on his bike.
"Of course, over recent years, particularly when Toprak joined us but also when Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark were with us, we were kind of fierce competitors," continued Denning.
"That tends to produce antagonism and a sort of feeling of not being exactly best friends as you just want to beat each other. Especially with the Toprak story of 2021 and beyond.
"It’s been a real pleasure to get to know the person behind the competitor, his family and the process was stressful but strangely enjoyable. It’s quite a surreal moment.”