WorldSBK

Jonathan Rea hints he could retire at end of 2020 WorldSBK season

Jonathan Rea says he is considering his future beyond his current 2020 WorldSBK deal... but adds he will not leave the Kawasaki fold

Jonathan Rea has hinted he may consider hanging up his helmet at the conclusion of the 2020 WorldSBK Championship as he targets a record-breaking sixth consecutive title.

The Briton’s current deal with the Kawasaki Racing Team comes to an end at the conclusion of the 2020 WorldSBK Championship, raising speculation he may choose to walk away from the sport on a high.

Indeed, though Rea’s immense WorldSBK success has come over the last few years with consecutive titles stretching back to 2015 when he first joined Kawasaki from Honda, he is nonetheless one of the longer serving figures on the grid having made his full-time debut in 2009.

For now, Rea is contracted to KRT until the end of this season and goes into WorldSBK 2020 looking to fend off a renewed threat from Ducati, which has signed former MotoGP rider Scott Redding, and the revitalised Honda factory team with Alvaro Bautista, plus perennial opposition from BMW and Yamaha.

Discussing his future with Speedweek.de, Rea – who recently revealed he considered retiring after winning his first world title in 2015 - said he wants to get an idea of what Kawasaki has planned for 2021 onwards before signing up again.

“I don't need racing for the rest of my life,” he said. “I am financially secure, I also have a good life outside of racing. I enjoy my time on the bike, I like the competition. It will also depend on what Kawasaki has in 2021 for ideas. After that I can think about the resignation.

“I will talk to Kawasaki about whether there is a job in the company for me after racing. As a test driver, as an ambassador, in team management, whatever. If I had to sit on the sofa with my wife all day every day, we would soon be divorced. I also have to have something for myself. I probably need a year after my resignation to think about my future.”

Rea does however say he has no immediate intention of leaving the Kawasaki fold, whether that is in a rider or team personnel capacity, describing his days at Honda as ‘tiring’.

“Not at the moment. Most of my good career memories come from my Kawasaki days. My time at Honda was tiring.”

Rea is one of only three riders who competed in 2009 still racing in WorldSBK, together with Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam, both of whom have partnered the Ulsterman at Kawasaki over the last decade.

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