Yamaha has scored a major coup with the signing of six-time world champion Jonathan Rea. Following the transfer of Toprak Razgatlioglu to BMW for 2024, the Northern Irishman has been signed as the most successful rider in the history of the production-based motorbike world championship. At 36, Rea is still riding at the top level. The change to Yamaha should give him an additional boost, because he wants to fight for the world championship title again next season.
A fact that also pleases Yamaha's top management and makes them confident for the future. In Magny-Cours, Pata Yamaha team boss Paul Denning and Yamaha's road racing manager Andrea Dosoli commented on the signing of the contract with the 119-time round winner.
"First of all, the loss of Toprak was a big setback for us. To replace a rider with his skills, you have to look at the top of the list. Fortunately, we didn't have to work our way down far. It's a nice story, which is exciting for us and Yamaha, of course, but also for the championship. We're lucky to get a six-time world champion who is highly motivated," Denning points out.
Yamaha and Rea have signed a deal for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Denning sees a positive development for the project and the team structure of Pata Yamaha with the prominent newcomer. "I can't speak for Johnny, but the reason for his move is to get back to better performance. Hopefully we can give him something on the technical side that will take him forward. His goal is definitely to win another championship, but this time in blue. After the departure of Toprak, his signing is very motivating for the whole team. Just his decision to come to us gives us all new motivation. I don't see any difficulties integrating him into our team."
Andrea Dosoli has a similar view: "We are very happy to welcome Jonathan to the Yamaha family. I was impressed by his motivation and that despite all the success he has achieved in his career with six titles and many victories. This fits with our motivation and will drive our project forward. We are all looking forward to working with Jonathan."
Rea will take his seat on the R1 next season, replacing Razgatlioglu. The 2021 World Champion will pilot the M1000RR at BMW. Both will find a new starting situation. Regarding the sensational transfer of his competitor, the Turk said: "I am not surprised. It's a new challenge for him and a change of team is certainly a good idea. I think everyone is already looking forward to next year because we will both change brands. It's good for the World Superbike Championship."