Jonathan Rea’s rookie season is impressive. He has landed on the podium three times this season and took the checkers in June.
The partnership was confirmed a year ago at Vallelunga in Italy when Rea moved up from the Ten Kate team’s World Supersport effort to a fully-fledged debut World Superbike challenge. However, this new agreement, which runs until the end of the 2011 season, is seen as a fine-tuning of that earlier arrangement.
With three rounds to complete in the 2009 championship, Rea sits in fourth place in the points table, with two wins and a further three podium finishes to his name. In his rookie year and as the youngest World Superbike competitor, the Northern Irishman is also the highest-placed Honda rider.
“As everyone knows, we started this season pretty slowly and I take my share of the blame for that. 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.”
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
“We already had an ongoing two-year agreement with Jonathan from last year, but it was just at a basic level. 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.”