Rea has ‘much more margin’ with Yamaha, bike ‘accepts different styles’

Jonathan Rea already feels at home with his Yamaha WorldSBK machine after claiming it has a bigger margin for error than the Kawasaki.
Jonathan Rea, Yamaha WorldSBK Jerez 2023
Jonathan Rea, Yamaha WorldSBK Jerez 2023

The six-time WorldSBK champion jumped aboard the R1 straight after the season-finale at Jerez, finishing third fastest behind Remy Gardner and rookie Nicolo Bulega.

Over the last few seasons Rea has fought a lot with Toprak Razgatlioglu, who has one of the most unique riding styles particularly when it comes to braking.

But after seeing several Yamaha riders with different styles have success in Jerez, Rea feels confident he can do the same without needing to replicate Razgatlioglu.

Speaking to, Rea said: “Toprak’s been doing great things with the Yamaha; we’ve seen spectacular riding styles. 

“You only have to look at the last photo of the season. It was Toprak crossing the line in front of Bautista, but in the background was Domi Aegerter and Remy Gardner. 

“They have different styles. The Yamaha has a big window. You can ride it aggressively like Toprak or very smoothly like Locatelli. The bike’s working well. I was quite impressed already. I was using the same braking references as I was with my previous bike, but with much more margin. 

“When I compare the data to Toprak, under braking, I don’t have to do anymore to be better than him on the brakes. 

“This bike accepts both ways of riding. It's going to take time to understand my best way with the Yamaha. I have to make the bike mine; the position and fine tuning the last parts. 

“We have a lot of time before Australia, the idea is to go to Phillip Island and be competitive from the first day.”

Rea suffered his worst winning return in 2023 since joining Kawasaki nine years ago, with just one victory coming at Most.

And although Razgatlioglu also found it hard to beat Alvaro Bautista - Razgatlioglu won six races compared to Bautista’s 27 - the 36-year-old is already dreaming of a debut victory at the 2024 season-opener in Phillip Island.

Rea added: “That would be beyond expectations. The season’s very long. We’ve seen many times in the past that Phillip Island doesn’t always create the trend of the season. 

“We want to be competitive. If we aim for the podium and aim to be competitive, why not aim to win? It’s a circuit I love. 

“It’s like my second home, my wife’s from there. It would mean a lot. I remember my first race with my previous bike, I won there. It would be a dream come true to win at Phillip Island with Yamaha.”

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