Rea has penned a two-year deal with Yamaha to ride alongside Andrea Locatelli.

A statement by Kawasaki read: "Six time WorldSBK Champion, Rea, will leave the Kawasaki Racing Team at the end of the 2023 season. Formally contracted for both the current and 2024 seasons, Rea will be released from this agreement by mutual consent at the end of the racing season.

"During his time riding for the official factory team, 36 year old Rea achieved an unprecedented haul of six WorldSBK titles as well as accruing a slew of other records including all-time WorldSBK records for Championships, Race Wins, Podiums, Fastest Laps and Overall Points Scored."

Yamaha confirmed: "Yamaha Motor Europe is pleased to announce that six-time FIM Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea will race alongside Andrea Locatelli in the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Official Team in 2024, having secured a two-year agreement with the Ulsterman.

"Rea is the most successful WorldSBK rider of all time, winning six consecutive titles in an incredible period of dominance between 2015 and 2020. The records don’t stop there, as he also holds the highest number of victories in the class with 119, the most podiums (256), and fastest laps (102), all from a history-making 401 starts. 

"The Northern Irishman has also scored more points than anyone else in WorldSBK and has amassed over 6,000 since stepping up to the premier production class in 2008. On top of this, Rea also holds the record for the longest time between his first (Misano 2009) and last (Most 2023) wins, has 41 pole positions to his name and has been ever-present in the top three in the final WorldSBK Championship standings since 2014. 

"Despite his phenomenal career, Rea’s hunger for success has not diminished, and his aim is clear, to add to his record-breaking tally of victories and become the first rider to win seven WorldSBK titles. 

"Yamaha Motor Europe is delighted to have secured his services in a two-year deal. The new agreement will see Rea form a formidable partnership alongside Italian teammate Andrea Locatelli, with the duo competing onboard the highly competitive Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK R1 together until 2025."

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Rea - who began his WorldSBK career at Honda in 2009 before joining Kawasaki in 2015 and claiming title glory for the next six seasons - looks certain to take over the Pata Yamaha ride vacated by fellow former champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, who is joining BMW.

“I want to thank everyone at KMC and KRT for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to prove myself at the highest level. I have learnt and grown so much as a person and a rider since the first day throwing my leg over the factory Ninja ZX-10R superbike," Rea said.

"Winning six consecutive WorldSBK Championships will always be the most obvious highlight of my time with Kawasaki; but it will also be the amazing memories, the life lessons and the laughs that I will take with me into the future. And, for sure, it’s our mission to complete the 2023 season as strongly and with as much commitment as we have always shown.

"Now, looking back on our journey, it fills me with pride at the joy and happiness we have brought Kawasaki fans and Kawasaki owners around the world. This is not a goodbye, because you don’t say goodbye to family, but it is simply the end of this incredible chapter. I wish everyone at KRT the best of luck for the chapters that will surely follow.

"See you at the track.”

After finishing runner-up to Razgatlioglu in the 2021 campaign, Rea took six wins on the way to third behind Ducati's Alvaro Bautista and Razgatlioglu in 2022, a result he is currently on course to repeat.

It remains unclear who will now replace Rea, alongside Alex Lowes, at Kawasaki for 2024.