Jonathan Rea will ride a Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade in the 2012 World Superbike championship following an announcement from the Castrol Honda team at Nurburgring in Germany today.
The 24-year-old from Northern Ireland chose his comeback weekend after three months out through injury to sign a year-long extension to his long association with Honda that has seen him ride at Supersport and Superbike level in both British and World championships.
Rea has ridden with the Honda Motor Europe-supported team run by the Ten Kate organization in the Netherlands for the past four seasons, the last three of which have been on Honda’s CBR1000RR Fireblade.
The 2012 season will mark the 20th anniversary of the Fireblade’s introduction and Rea and his team are looking forward to competing once more against some of the world’s best riders and manufacturers in the World Superbike championship.
We started talking quite early this season and it was clear to me that everyone was aware that we were struggling with the bike in some areas. After four years with this team, and even more with Honda, it was refreshing and inspiring to see how intent everyone was on addressing the problems. These are difficult economic times everywhere, but Honda and the team have increased their commitment and ticked all the boxes for me, so I’m really, really happy. There’s no championship left to fight for this season, but that won’t stop us trying as hard as ever for race wins. And the fact that we’re not battling for a title means that we can also continue our development work for next year. I’d like to thank Honda for the continued support and the team for everything they do for me. Together, we all have unfinished business in the World Superbike championship.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
We are really happy to have Jonathan with us for a fifth year, especially after all his time on Honda machinery. We don’t need to explain how this year did not bring what we all hoped for, but, for both rider and team, there is a very big ambition for 2012. With ongoing and new development on the bike and a new drive within the team, we are totally committed to repaying Jonathan’s unwavering loyalty to us and Honda in the best way possible.
Carlo Fiorani – Honda Motor Europe
Of course, we are very proud that Jonathan has decided to stay with Honda for the 2012 World Superbike championship. He is one of the fastest riders in the paddock and this decision, which is based on a mutually satisfactory relationship, is very important for us and for the championship. After a lot of bad luck in 2011, we really want to come back strongly next season and this decision will help us to do that.