Rea, a five-time WorldSBK race winner so far this season, has been competing at as high a level as we’ve ever seen, as has series leader Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu.

While the battles of 2020 and especially 2021 between Rea and Razgatlioglu helped rejuvenate WorldSBK and the interest around it - bringing the level of excitement much closer to that of MotoGP - the top three in the 2022 standings have pushed on even further. 

New lap records, increased race pace by over half a second at some circuits compared to 2021 and three riders that have shared all 15 wins so far, this season’s title fight is shaping up to be the best yet. 

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With the summer break fast approaching, only Rea was yet to commit his future after Razgatlioglu was confirmed to be staying in WorldSBK with Pata Yamaha, while Bautista recently agreed a new one-year deal at Ducati.

While very slim, the possibility of Rea also leaving the sport was not ruled out, therefore this year’s three-way title fight was a potential one-off scenario. 

However, WorldSBK fans will get the pleasure of seeing the battle between Rea, Razgatlioglu and Bautista continue into next season after Rea confirmed his future with a two-year deal at Kawasaki.

It’s a decision he described as a ‘formality’ given the success they’ve enjoyed together, while the hunger to win was ultimately at the core of his wish to remain in WorldSBK, but also with Kawasaki.  

Speaking ahead of Most, Rea said: "I’m very excited because at this stage, it was something that we had been speaking about for a long time. I was just wanting to go into the 2022 season to understand how everything is working, understand the motivation to continue – both from my side and Kawasaki’s side. 

"We’re on the same page about improving and the team’s incredible; right from 2015, when they gave me the opportunity to come here and win championships, we’ve made great stories. 

"It was more of a formality than anything, to understand each other’s wishes. I’m really happy to keep this incredible family together." 

‘Winning is like a drug’, says the WorldSBK legend

Holding nearly every record there is to hold in WorldSBK, Rea could have been forgiven for wanting a new challenge, however, the ambition to keep winning at a time where WorldSBK is at its best was too much to pass up.

"Winning is like a drug, it’s something that you want more of and it’s what keeps you working hard at home and the team, and I think that’s where the motivation comes from to keep being competitive," added Rea. 

"It wasn’t harder to be motivated in the past but with Chaz Davies as my main rival, that was my motivation, to be beating him. 

"Then, it’s more about my rivals right now, as they’re improving so much and of course I want to beat them, but I want to improve myself and still be the best that I can be."