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Jonathan Rea in Talks With MotoGP Teams for Possible 2019 Contract


Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) is on track for an unprecedented fourth straight WSB championship, and poised to break Carl Fogarty’s all-time win record in WSB. His contract with Kawasaki ends this year.

According to an article published by MotorSport.com, Rea is not only in talks with Kawasaki to extend his current relationship, he is in discussions with at least one MotoGP factory team regarding a possible 2019 seat. As noted in the article, several “second seats” at factory MotoGP teams remain open, including at Honda, Ducati, Aprilia and Suzuki. The KTM-affiliated Tech 3 squad also has at least one open spot, and it is expected to receive factory level equipment next year.

Rea indicated he might have an announcement regarding his 2019 plans before the Brno round that begins on June 8. Stay tuned.


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38 Comments

  1. Todd says:

    Rea is going nowhere, he will enjoy the Kawasaki advantage as long as he can. I don’t think the Honda has the big advantages Kawasaki does, the big advantage is Marquez , I think he’d be in the same position regardless if riding the Honda, Ducati or Yamaha.

  2. Brinskee says:

    Just throwing this out there, but I wonder what the possibility is of JL99 taking DP26 ride at Honda sits at, percentage-wise? Sorry for the change of topic and I too agree that Rea wouldn’t be a back marker but he also probably wouldn’t get any wins if he made the switch so it doesn’t really matter to me one way or the other.

    However…

    With the rumors that Lorentho is about to get the boot from Ducati, how (un)likely is it that he join Murguez over at Honda! How nuts would that be? Any chance?

  3. dt-175 says:

    cal crutchlow had better watch his seat/ass…

  4. Brian says:

    Rea has nothing else to prove in World SBK after this year. Even if he isn’t a champion in GP, he still deserves a good ride and the exposure. I’m sure he will be more than a back marker on the grid.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Rea is a bit old to make the transition, but it would be fun to see him take a few test races. Unless Kawasaki was going to make the leap to GP, it wouldn’t make sense for a manufacturer to take that on. He could probably get the Tech 3 seat, but that’s not going to be competitive even if they have factory equipment next year. It will likely take KTM at least two years with Zarco’s input to get to that point.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      He’s only 8 years younger than Rossi. Rea is an attractive rider for several available seats. Since he has accomplished everything of interest in WSB, perhaps he needs a new challenge, and he is plenty fast (he opened Nickey Hayden’s eyes when he moved over to WSB).

  6. Wendy says:

    Wrong passport, the MotoGP paddock is filled with Spaniards for a reason. Rea is old, while running a more than competitive Kawasaki, a MotoGP non competitive bike will only make him look slow and bad.

  7. stan says:

    An honest question: Regarding these blogs on obscure racing personalities and teams, where do these races take place in USA / is there media you guys watch to keep up with this stuff / no offense, but it just seems so niche with no mass media coverage or general awareness? How many people take part in this and spectate? Is this primarily a Euro thing?

    • Hot Dog says:

      Thank gawd for the internet because all we’re fed in the U.S. by the mainstream media is NASCAR, golf and stickball. I have my favorite websites for info and I subscribe to Moto GP video package. I’ve been interested in bike racing since the 70’s. I’ve had a number of romantic interludes but I’ve never wavered in my love of bike racing (unlike some).

      How about the rumor JLO could end up back on a M1?

    • mechanicus says:

      Get your google on. Yes, a euro thing, with a few fanboys and a race or 2 over here.

    • Vrooom says:

      Generally speaking the racing over there is the best in the world. MotoGP comes to the US once a year, I don’t believe WSB does anymore. Besides this website covering both series, there’s quite a bit of information out there on the internet. You can usually get crappy video of a race on You Tube, plus you can subscribe to race series for higher end video. Spaniards, Italians, a few Brits (like Rea, and Tom Sykes among others) participate, along with a smattering for all the other countries, Asia has some participation.

      • Simon Evans says:

        WSB round in the USA is the weekend of 22-24 June at Laguna Seca. You you have no USA talent of any worth now that Nicky is gone (Jake Gagne and P J Jacobsen run around near the back). But WSB (actually technically known as WSBK) pulls more viewers than any race series with the exception of MotoGP (there’s no Yanks in that either, so you probably ignore that too)
        The issue is that you have no aspirational race class that gets US riders to a level to compete in these classes. The Spaniards, Italians, French, Germans, English even the Turks do. Sort out US racing and offer some quality riders and you can be less dismissive of some of the best racing on two wheels you will EVER see.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I’d hardly call Rea an obscure personality in the racing world! But like the others have said, we are thankful for the internet because there is no other way to follow our favorite sport here, though the WSBK and GP races can still be watched on certain cable channels.

      There was a time when motorcycle racing was a pretty big thing here, relatively speaking. The USA is surprisingly still Dorna’s largest market according to Carmelo, though he says that other markets are clearly more passionate about the sport.

      Motoamerica is trying to breathe the life back into domestic supersport and superbike racing. Not really sure how that is going. Also flat track racing seems to be making a bit if a comeback here (though I’ve never found flat track to particularly exciting to watch.) That interest may bleed out to other motorcycle racing in the future. Hopefully, we’ll get some traction in the future.

    • JVB says:

      Subscribe to a TV package that has BeIn Sports. They have MotoGp and SBK. Check your provider for what they offer because BeIn sports typically is not part of a “Base” subscription. You’ll need an upper level sports package. I had it on Direct TV, and recently dropped Direct TV for SlingTV with the Sports package. Both worked great. Upside to Direct TV was that they had velocity channel that provided Isle of Mann. Don’t get that any longer :(.

  8. Fastship says:

    Dan Kneen was killed last night in practice for next week’s TT. Dan was a true road racer, a Manxman and a true contender for a trophy at this years TT.

    “Mean’t to be a plumber but like racing bikes more!”

    • Gary says:

      Rest in peace. But anyone who chooses to compete at the IoM must know the dangers. I will never be included among the fans of this venue.

  9. Provologna says:

    4 words: Max Biaggi Ben Spies

    • guu says:

      Ok, I’ll bite. What do Biaggi, Spies and Rea have in common, excepts WSB championships (lots of other people also have these)?

      Biaggi had a very successful GP career before WSB, Spies had a disappointing MotoGP career after WSB, and Rea hasn’t had his (real) chance yet.

      • Bob K says:

        Don’t forget Colin Edward’s disappointing GP career. Not a single win.
        .
        I’d say, at that time, a GP machine and a WSBK machine were too different and CEIII simply didn’t know how to change his riding style to win on a GP bike. Now, the level of electronics in both series require the same riding style so maybe the only thing left to learn is the switchgear, tires and brakes.

      • Provologna says:

        In the case of Spies and Biaggi, their MotoGP/500cc GP record pales v. their multiple WSBK Championships.

        • Joe says:

          Rea is a rare talent in WSB.
          There’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t be very competitive on the right machine, with the right team and enough time to get oriented.
          I think fairly quickly he’d be extracting the most out of his bike and would consistently compete for a podium spot.
          He’s that good

        • Guu says:

          Really?!? Go and actually look what Biaggi did. 13 wins, including his very first race, dozens of podiums, several times runner-up in the championship, always a contender etc, etc. Not to mention his 250 run. He’s even the only rider to win on a carburated MotoGP bike…

          He doesn’t have a MotoGP/500 championship, but neither does Pedrosa for example. There are a lot of reasons for this and not all were under his control. Is anything short of championship a disappointment?

          Spies, as great as he was, hasn’t accomplished one tenth of what Biaggi has.

          • Provologna says:

            Thanks for this info. I admit that I know only the most obvious about Biaggi, that he failed to get the big GP ring, and in every race I saw with he and VR46, the latter always got the better of the former. Multiple times, when VR was at his peak, he’d just play with Max, trailing him for several laps, only to later blow by him and win by a large margin.

            Max saw the writing on the wall. He threw in the GP towel, solely to win the WSBK crown multiple times.

            Max’s answer to your last question is apparently, “Yes!” Who am I to argue with Max?

          • guu says:

            You missed some races then. Biaggi won 10 races against Rossi. And almost always with inferior equipment. Sure, Rossi was better most of the time. But he was better than anybody else also, he’s the greatest 500/MotoGP rider ever!

            Point here is that Biaggi’s career has very little to do with Spies’s and Rea’s, both in the arch of it and in accomplishment. Biaggi started riding as an adult, became one of the greatest 250 riders ever and an all-time great in MotoGP. He then went on to win in WSB at an age when most have been retired for a decade.

            Spies and Rea are superbike riders and they simply don’t have one tenth of the accomplishments that Biaggi has. Also, who is the WSB champ that wasn’t a MotoGP/500 disappointment if we use your criteria?

          • Provologna says:

            “Point here is that Biaggi’s career has very little to do with Spies’s and Rea’s, both in the arch of it and in accomplishment.”

            Biaggi and Spies share the single most critical history Re. “accomplishment” in their quests for 500cc/MotoGP and WSBK crowns: multiple crowns in the latter and multiple failures in the former. I’m curious if you deny any part of the prior sentence.

            IMO the sole goal of both riders every season they raced was to win the crown, and nothing else. If either told you different, please share about that.

            I would predict the same for Rea if he switches to MotoGP.

            The fact that Biaggi, after multiple failures to achieve a 500cc crown, switched to WSBK and won multiple crowns, proves that he personally valued the crown in the lesser series over winning individual races in the premier series. (IIRC Biaggi had a long stretch of not winning races when he finally quit the premier class.)

            I don’t deny that Biaggi ever beat VR46. But certainly it would be hard to “prove” that Biaggi ever beat VR46 while VR rode a superior bike. Frankly, that sounds like a stretch to me.

          • MacSpoone says:

            Right, sure…

            But Biaggi didn’t turn up to his very first season of international racing, with no knowledge of the tracks, and walk away with a world championship.

            Spies did.

            Beat that.

          • Guu says:

            Biaggi had his WSB run_after_he failed to get a MotoGP ride (Spies did it the other way round). He sure wanted and had lots of tobacco money too. He had just burned too many bridges (part of the reason for his failure to win a MotoGP champioship). Spies shares almost none of the “accomplishments” of Biaggi in MotoGP.

            Sure, Spies won his first season riding internationally. Biaggi won a 250 world championship 5 years after his first _ride_ on a motorcycle. Then he won 3 more times – in a row. If fact, Spies (born 1984) and Biaggi (1971) both started riding in 1989!

            Its a shame that Spies’s career was cut short by injuries. He sure had potential.

  10. HS1... says:

    Even though Dorna has both, there is no compelling reason to muck up the good show of MotoGP withe the stenching rot of the corpse of WSBK.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m not so sure if the change will worth it. A MotoGP, particularly with michelin tires and current electronics, is a much trickier beast than a WSBK, will take him time to master it, and he’s not becoming any younger…
    I will like to see on one, but also kicking butts on WSBK with a green machine too.

  12. Burtg says:

    He should go to motogp. That Kawasaki is nearly running motogp times as it is. And if I’m correct, someone else can verify, he did great on his last one-off ride weekend in motogp. Seems logical to step up and try for a year. He can always go back to wsbk and dominate again. Kawasaki should build him a motogp bike. But seeing him on a factory ride for Honda would be fun!

    • Jason says:

      Rea finished 8th and 7th when he filled in for Stoner back in 2012. Good but not great considering the Honda was the best bike in the paddock.

      • MacSpoone says:

        Remember that Rea didn’t have any exposure to the bike before that weekend, came to a foreign team and a vastly different machine, and then rethink that. He did phenomenally, truth be told.

  13. wjf says:

    Kawasaki MotoGP team perhaps…..some varm milk perhaps before retiring….ovaltine!

  14. Ricardo says:

    Perfect fit to replace Pedrosa in the Honda team and give Marquez and the other teams a run for their money…

    • Pacer says:

      Exactly what I was thinking.

    • Jason says:

      I doubt Honda goes for that. Rea is as old as Pedrosa and has no experience on a MotoGP bike. Pedrosa put the Honda on the podium 9 times and won 2 races last year. You don’t replace a rider like that with an aging wild-card.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think it is the time to take a chance. No rookies of interest left. Why not offer him a year to impress them. Pedrosa doesn’t bring headlines, Rea’s arrival alone would improve Repsol time in the limelight.

        • VLJ says:

          Repsol is Marc Marquez. Full stop. They aren’t hurting for time in the limelight. Anyone they sign will know going in that they’re there strictly to serve as #93’s caddie. Their bike is so good that they may win a race here and there and garner a lot of podiums, but they’ll know it’s 100% Marc’s program.

          In any case, Jason is correct. Honda is not going to replace Dani with an aging wildcard. If Rea lands a factory MotoGP ride, it will be with a team such as KTM, not Honda or Yamaha.