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Six-time WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea to leave Kawasaki after nine seasons

Gold & Goose
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 2023 WorldSBK, Most, portrait, celebration, podium [credit - Gold & Goose]

Jonathan Rea has announced he will sensationally quit the Kawasaki Racing Team at the end of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship season.

The Northern Irishman is expected to make the switch to Yamaha to replace BMW-bound Toprak Razgatlioglu after nine seasons with the factory Kawasaki team.

It will bring an end to a hugely successful era for both Rea and Kawasaki, the two parties clinching six WorldSBK titles and 101 WorldSBK victories together, a run of form that set him on to become the most successful rider in the series’ history.


- 2023 WorldSBK Championship Standings -

“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. 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. See you at the track.”

Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 2023 WorldSBK, Most, potrait [credit - KRT]

“In life as well as racing, priorities define the path to follow,” added team manager Guim Roda. “I am very happy and proud that during these nine years Jonny has defined his priorities with KRT and has given us so many successes. I consider myself, our team, Kawasaki and all our fans worldwide, privileged to have been part of this journey.  

“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. 

“As always, we will continue to look for improvements and seek advantage wherever possible. KRT is committed to putting on a good show with Johnny during his last four races on the formidable and impressive Ninja ZX-10RR that he has become synonymous with.”

After rumours began to surface over the summer break, Rea is tipped to join the factory Yamaha squad next season alongside Andrea Locatelli.

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