Jonathan Rea has ended speculation over his future by signing a new two-year deal with Ten Kate Honda to remain in World Superbikes until the end of the 2011 season.
The Northern Irish rider has impressed in his debut World Superbikes season despite a sluggish start, with two race victories and three third place finishes catching the eye of team bosses and propelling him to fourth in the rider’s standings.
The signing of the deal, which is an extension of an already existing contract, is of particular significance after Ten Kate Honda admitted earlier in the year that they would be cutting one of their riders, reducing their entries in the championship from three to two. That means that at least one of Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari, both out of contract at the end of the year, will not be retained for 2010.
“As everyone knows, we started this season pretty slowly and I take my share of the blame for that,” said the 22-year-old. “But I think we’ve shown that we have been able to turn the Honda CBR1000RR into a race-winning package in the face of some stiff competition. Now the challenge for me is to help to turn it into a championship-winning package.
“I’ll admit that I’ve had some flattering distractions to think about recently but, with this revised agreement, I can now just concentrate on the job and the future. The changes to the contract have simply made some things clear that weren’t clear before. We had a three-year plan, including the first year in Supersport, but not really a fixed deal. Now we’ve come to a good decision together and I’m looking forward to the rest of this season and the next two years with this strong and professional team.”
Team manager Ronald ten Kate was delighted to have tried his man to a long-term deal and is expecting big things of his star man.
“We already had an ongoing two-year agreement with Jonathan from last year, but it was just at a basic level,” said Ten Kate. “It needed an upgrade, so we now have a fine-tuned version after his impressive results this season.
“We are delighted to continue with the plan which brought Jonathan from British Superbike, through our own World Supersport squad and on to his World Superbike challenge. He has grown up a lot this season, both as a rider and as a person, and he is an absolute joy to work with. I believe we are just beginning to see the great potential that Jonathan has.”