Rea stays in WSBK with new Kawasaki deal
Triple World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has agreed a new two-year deal to remain in the series with the Kawasaki Racing Team.
Rea joined the Provec-run factory Kawasaki squad in 2015 from the Ten Kate Honda team, and has dominated WSBK for the past three years to become the first rider to win three-successive titles.
The Northern Irishman has taken 45 victories with KRT since '15, and during the Brno weekend beat Carl Fogarty's tally of 59 career wins with his 60th in Race 1.
Rea admitted during the Donington round that he was “evaluating” offers to go to MotoGP next year, which he indicated were from factory outfits, but also revealed he was in talks to remain with Kawasaki after receiving a deal he was “excited about”.
“I am more than happy to continue in these next two seasons with the Kawasaki Racing Team,” Rea, who sits 65 points in the lead of the current standings, said.
“Since the end of last season we have already started to talk about continuing our partnership, so it’s nice to finalise everything now, so that we can concentrate on the remaining races of 2018.
“From the moment I arrived at the end of 2014 I was welcomed into the Kawasaki family and since then we have achieved success beyond our wildest dreams.
“Here is where I want to stay. Of course it feels natural to keep writing this incredible story together, and I want to thank everyone in the Kawasaki Racing Team for believing in me and for this opportunity."
KRT team manager Guim Roda added: “We can celebrate that Johnny decides to stay two more years in Kawasaki and running in WSBK.
“It is important that he has decided that WSBK is the place that still makes him motivated. I’m sure many fans would like to see him running with the top guys in MotoGP, but we can ask the guys from MotoGP to come here to see the battle too.
“The level Rea has now is so high and this only will make the level of other riders and manufacturers in WSBK increase.
“All will be forced to give their maximum to beat Johnny, so we all must be happy and motivated. Of course, we all will continue working to improve the package so I’m sure the show will continue.
“Other riders and manufacturers will need to work hard if wants to have the honour of being a WSBK Champion. The show must go on.”
Rea's teammate Tom Sykes has been linked with a switch to Yamaha for next year amid a tough '18 campaign on the ZX-10RR, with both Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes rumoured to replace him at KRT.
Ducati's Chaz Davies has also been connected to a move to Kawasaki, having previously indicated he was unsure about his future with the Italian marque.
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