Jonathan Rea will remain with Kawasaki in the World Superbike Championship for another two seasons after securing a contract extension until the end of 2018.
The Ulsterman has dominated World Superbikes since joining Kawasaki at the start of 2015, clinching last year's title with a mammoth 14 wins to his name, and leads the current championship by 35 points from Chaz Davies heading into round six at Sepang this weekend.
Rea says the combination of reaching recent goals of winning a maiden WSBK crown with the new Kawasaki ZX-10R demonstrating itself as an instant race winner he says it became a straightforward decision to re-sign with the Japanese manufacturer.
“I am so happy to extend this partnership with the Kawasaki Racing Team and continue the great relationship I have with all the Kawasaki engineers and fans,” Rea said. “It is clear that our objectives and way of working are very well matched so it makes perfect sense to extend this for two more seasons.
“With all the incredible memories we have made so far and are now creating, I am 100% confident that we will enjoy working together and develop the Ninja ZX-10R into the future.
“I would like to thank Kawasaki and all the KRT staff for their full support and belief in my potential. With this in mind I am now even more focused than ever to win the World SBK Championship in 2016 to make it back to back wins.”
Delighted to have retained Rea until the end of the 2018 season, team manager Guim Roda also hinted it is Kawasaki's intention to retain Tom Sykes too.
"We have now two great riders in KRT. Two World Champions and the goal is to keep them for the next two years. Rea is an experienced rider with a young spirit and big motivation, open to learning and improving race-by-race.
"This gives us even greater potential to have an even better rider in two years' time. His big credit in this KRT project is to give us the pressure to give the best to him. I know clearly that the mechanics, crew, technicians, team staff and all KHI engineers will do our best to cover his expectations..”