Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki yet to begin contract talks, is Ducati an option?

Despite a strong start to the 2022 WorldSBK season, Jonathan Rea is yet to commit his future to Kawasaki, in fact, the six-time world champion has not even begun talks with the Japanese manufacturer.
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Misano
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK Misano

Currently second in the championship after winning five races from 12, Rea and Kawasaki are well and truly in the 2022 WorldSBK title fight.

Before last weekend’s fourth round in Misano, Rea led the way in terms of most wins with five but has since been overtaken by Alvaro Bautista who secured another dominant double, his second double of the season after winning both Sunday races in Aragon. 

While Ducati, Yamaha and Kawasaki have been closely matched throughout the first four rounds, Ducati appears to once again have the quickest and most consistent package on the grid, although it could be argued that Bautista is making the difference on that bike. 

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Often in 2021 Rea was having to push his ZX-10RR beyond what the bike was capable of, and while that’s not been as visible so far this season due to the Japanese marque making steps regarding traction and grip, Misano was the first indication that Rea might not have a bike that can allow him to achieve what he wants. 

The Northern Irishman, who is still in his prime, has been competing for Kawasaki since 2015 and what an eight years it’s been so far.

But when asked about his future, Rea was in no mood to commit to KRT.

Speaking to, Rea added: "2023 is a long way ahead. It’s both exciting and nervous times because I’m at the end of a contract. 

"Of course, there’s the excitement of what to do but I haven’t really sat down with my own team yet, to understand. 

"I respectfully asked that we focused on the championship but in these four weeks [until Donington Park], it’s time to think about what’s next. I’m excited about it. 

"If you asked me four years ago I thought I would be well retired by now, but I’ve got so much fight left inside [me] and I feel there’s so much left to give that I can’t wait to get something sorted for 2023. Let’s see. 

"We’ll savour the moment of these four rounds and then come back swinging after this break."

With WorldSBK champion Toprak Razgatlioglu staying in 2023, could Rea join Ducati?

If Rea does leave Kawasaki at the end of this season, then Ducati is likely to be the only realistic option that could provide him with a shot at the title. 

Jonathan Rea Kawasaki WorldSBK Misano
Jonathan Rea Kawasaki WorldSBK Misano

Razgatlioglu will officially be staying in WorldSBK for another season after a possible move to MotoGP fell through when RNF Yamaha announced they would switch to Aprilia machinery in 2023 - leaves the factory Yamaha team as the only one on the grid with Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli already secured.

Why is that important? 

Well, Yamaha already has Razgatlioglu signed up until the end of next season, therefore signing Rea is a move that wouldn’t make sense.

Ducati on the other hand could make a lot of sense for Rea. The two parties have expressed interest in one-another before and recent speculation seems to indicate interest remains.

Of course, Ducati currently has Bautista in its ranks and with the Spaniard flying high at the top of the championship, there’s no reason to suggest why they would need, or want to make such a move.

However, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi under intense pressure to keep the second factory seat, plus Bautista’s contract being up at the end of the season - would be a surprise if Ducati didn’t re-sign the Spaniard - the appeal of signing Rea might be too much to pass up, especially as budget doesn’t seem to be an issue for the Italian brand, as former MotoGP star Danilo Petrucci has also been touted as an option to replace Rinaldi.

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