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Jonathan Rea adamant he won't race in SBK until 40

Fresh from joining Yamaha, the Northern Irishman doesn't want to follow the example of Rossi: "if I’m still here at 40, I hope someone will tell me to make way for young riders"

SBK: Jonathan Rea adamant he won't race in SBK until 40

Jonathan Rea has been in the top 3 of the Superbike World Championship since 2014. A level of performance that makes him one of the most consistent riders in the history of the discipline. Six-time winner of the most prestigious trophy and holder of several records including that for the greatest number of titles won, 119 successes in individual races, and 263 podiums, he will now have an opportunity to further raise the bar and find new motivation after his recent move to Yamaha.

Despite the overwhelming supremacy of Ducati, in 2023 the 36-year-old came close to getting the better of the competition, but a no longer idyllic feeling with the Kawasaki led him to make some missteps and as a result to accept the offer from the Iwata manufacturer to change air.

The targets for the new championship, therefore, are ambitious. The intention is to cause some bother for the reigning world champion Bautista, as well as the new BMW signing Razgatlioglu, in the hope of regaining the crown that he has been missing since 2020.

“I won’t retire as long as I’m competitive and having fun – were his words on the website which make it clear how great his hunger still is – I haven’t thought about retiring yet and I’m looking forward to my time with Yamaha.”

Even though a not exactly tender age might suggest that he is close to saying goodbye to racing, for the Irishman the journey is far from over, albeit it could be close. As he himself admitted, it will not continue until the age of 42 as Valentino Rossi did in MotoGP.

“I’m not saying this will be my last contract, but in five years I don’t want to be here anymore – he declared – I’ve been in this paddock since I was 21. In 2009 I came to the Superbike World Championship. If I'm still here at 40, someone please tell me to make room for aspiring young riders. There are many fast riders who are moving up. When the time comes to leave, it will come.”


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