WSBK: Jonathan Rea to Kawasaki WSBK in 2015

Jonathan Rea will ride alongside Tom Sykes in the Kawasaki Racing Team for the 2015 World Superbike Championship.
Kawasaki Racing has confirmed Jonathan Rea will join 2013 title winner Tom Sykes in its team for the 2015 World Superbike Championship.

The Ulsterman comes to Kawasaki for the next chapter in a career that has seen him compete almost exclusively as a Honda rider over the years, beginning at national level before progressing to the World Supersport Championship in 2008 and then the WSBK class in 2009, where he has remained with the manufacturer ever since.

In that time Rea has notched up 15 race wins and 42 podiums, but while he hasn't quite been able to mount a convincing title challenge in those six seasons with the Ten Kate Racing run team, the relative failures of his well respected team-mates during that time – including Carlos Checa and Leon Haslam - have earned him a reputation as a rider that has consistently out-performed his machinery.

The confirmation of a move that has been anticipated for some time, Rea nonetheless comes to Kawasaki having enjoyed his best-ever season with Honda in 2014, scoring four wins en route to third overall.

With this in mind, team manager Guim Roda believes in Rea and Sykes he has the strongest possible rider line-up on the grid.

“After three years working with Loris Baz to grow up a young talent, we will start in 2015 a new strategy, with an experienced and fully formed rider Johnny Rea,” said KRT manager Guim Roda. “We are sure he can increase the whole team performance and he will be a very good team-mate with Tom Sykes.

“Both have a big respect for each other, and I'm sure both guys will increase their performance, searching the limits of the Ninja ZX-10R. We expect to put on track two very strong riders next year so it is our idea try to win back the title with our two British weapons.”

“I am very happy that a rider with this kind of level of experience is coming to our Kawasaki team," added Rea's new crew chief Pere Riba, who takes over from Chris Pike. "For me, and all the team, this makes us feel very happy. I believe we have shown that we have a good base and we are working hard to have an even better bike.

"I believe we can give the tools to Jonathan so he will be fighting for the championship. We will start the winter tests very soon and I feel very positive that Kawasaki took the decision to have Jonathan in the team.

"As a crew chief we will try to give him the best not only technically but also helping him in general and I am sure we can have a good year.”

Rea's move to Kawasaki is believed to have come in the wake of his failure to land a much coveted competitive ride in MotoGP with Honda, prompting him to seek a new challenge for 2015.

The Ulsterman did not make a comment in Kawasaki's official announcement, suggesting he is still under a contract with Honda.

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