Jonathan Rea has confirmed he will remain with Honda for the 2012 World Superbike Championship season in an effort to complete his 'unfinished business' in the series.
The Ulsterman has made a significant impression on the series since making his debut in 2009, Rea finishing inside the top five overall in 2009 and 2010, while he has already notched up seven wins in less than three seasons.
Though Rea has been linked to other manufacturers on the back of a disappointing 2011 campaign, one that has included a race win at Assen, but also persistent set-up issues, he says he will not move for 2012, reaffirming his commitment to helping Honda return to competitiveness with the new Fireblade.
“We started talking quite early this season and it was clear to me that everyone was aware that we were struggling with the bike in some areas. After four years with this team, and even more with Honda, it was refreshing and inspiring to see how intent everyone was on addressing the problems.
“These are difficult economic times everywhere, but Honda and the team have increased their commitment and ticked all the boxes for me, so I'm really, really happy. There's no championship left to fight for this season, but that won't stop us trying as hard as ever for race wins.
“The fact that we're not battling for a title means that we can also continue our development work for next year. I'd like to thank Honda for the continued support and the team for everything they do for me. Together, we all have unfinished business in the World Superbike championship.”
Heralding a fifth season with the Ten Kate-prepared team, which also ran Rea in the World Supersport Championship in 2008, manager Ronald ten Kate was thrilled to be retaining his star rider.
“We are really happy to have Jonathan with us for a fifth year, especially after all his time on Honda machinery. We don't need to explain how this year did not bring what we all hoped for, but, for both rider and team, there is a very big ambition for 2012. With ongoing and new development on the bike and a new drive within the team, we are totally committed to repaying Jonathan's unwavering loyalty to us and Honda in the best way possible.”
With Honda desperate to return to form in 2012, Honda Motor Europe's Carlos Fiorani believes Rea is the man to put them at the forefront.
“Of course, we are very proud that Jonathan has decided to stay with Honda for the 2012 World Superbike championship. He is one of the fastest riders in the paddock and this decision, which is based on a mutually satisfactory relationship, is very important for us and for the championship. After a lot of bad luck in 2011, we really want to come back strongly next season and this decision will help us to do that.”