In MotoGP the negotiations for 2021 started way back in the summer, in Superbike instead the market took off in Phillip Island. You read that right! Negotiations usually start after the season arrives in Europe, but this time they are starting far in advance.
Currently only one rider has a safe seat for next year - Scott Redding – while all the contracts of all the others are expiring. These appear to include Johnny Rea, who at the end of the season will have to review his position with KRT.
Apparently, Rea doesn't want to waste too much time, so much so that Chuck Aksland, his manager, has also arrived in Australia and Johnny's trusted manager was intercepted by our colleagues at Speedweek. The subject is obviously the market: “I was in the MotoGP paddock for a long time, but now we’re trying to understand what the situation is - revealed Johnny's trusted manager - We must understand with Kawasaki how to move. We have started talking for the next year and a lot will depend on what the bike will be and the material that Rea will have available. "
Some fanciful ideas have been doing the rounds about the future of Rea, who has every interest, at this stage, in making people talk about him. Having said that, apparently Jonathan has no doubts about what to do.
"Jonathan's priority is to stay in the Superbike World Championship," said Aksland. «He is happy here, enjoys the series, the number of races and the victories. Everything will depend on what Kawasaki brings for a motorcycle. If they were to continue as before and bring new parts or a new bike, that would motivate Jonathan to stay. We don't know that for sure yet. The talks are on. If Kawasaki continues to push and face the upcoming battles, then Jonathan encourages them to stay. Otherwise, I can’t rule out a brand change. That's why I'm here.”
Rea himself also intervened on the matter, at the end of FP2 at Phillip Island. Johnny was asked about the rider market, but he preferred to gloss over the subject: “I’m not here to talk about the market, because it is too early. In fact, I have no idea. I prefer not to talk about the future." However, we asked him if his priority is to continue with Kawasaki and even in this case, he didn’t want to say anything: "My priority is to have the best opportunity for me, but I can't say anything more".
Certainly, Johnny is a very tempting rider in the paddock and as a result, for Kawasaki it will not be so easy and clear-cut to hold him back as happened two years ago. Looking at things logically, there is only one team that would spare no expense for him, namely Honda. Moreover, the character of the CBR 1000 RR-R engine is something that should not be such a big aspect to deal with. More complicated is the situation of Ducati, which, as we all know, debuted a new bike in the World Championship last year. We will see, even if the fact remains that the 2021 market has already got underway and Kawasaki cannot find itself unprepared.