Rea joined the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015 as an already successful WorldSBK competitor. His team mate, Tom Sykes, had previously taken the highest honour winning the Championship in 2013. Winning his first ever race with the Ninja ZX-10R underneath him at the opening Australian event at Philip Island in February 2015, the wholly focused Rea mounted an incredible attack on the championship in his debut year.
Between them, teammates Rea and Sykes won 19 races in 2015. And with 14 of those wins and 548 points to his credit, Rea was crowned champion at season end. His agenda was clear; the next goal would be back to back crowns. This was an incredible debut Championship but additionally Kawasaki won the Manufacturer and Team title in 2015, an achievement that could also be built on.
2016 witnessed the same stunning season opener with Rea again taking both races at the opening round and sharing honours with Sykes across a year where Rea took 9 wins and his popular Yorkshire teammate finished a strong second to close out the top two spots for Kawasaki. Ending just two points away from a magic 500 figure, Rea had made good on his promise and won back-to-back championships. Again Kawasaki took the manufacturer title and KRT (Kawasaki Racing Team) were awarded the team title; more was to come.
A new machine and a new vision for 2017; KRT would field Rea and Sykes once more but this time aboard the new Ninja ZX-10RR. For Tom and crew chief Marcel Duinker, the new bike was an exciting challenge and for Rea and his pit box head, Pere Riba, the ideal tool for an audacious attempt to win three championships back-to-back-to-back.
It did not go all Rea’s way in 2017 but the 30 year old remained composed throughout. Wins came but also disappointments. Across the season guile and determination characterised his approach as he ground down the opposition while Sykes also racked up wins and Superpoles on his ZX-10RR helping his championship aspirations while also racking up points toward the team and manufacturer prize.
So it was at Magny Cours Jonathan Rea was crowned triple champion with two events remaining. One of only a handful of riders to achieve three superbike crowns and having done it three years in a row both Rea and his fans are tempted to ask, are FOUR consecutive championships possible?
Jerez in October brought the online #R3PEAT campaign to fruition. Awarded the coveted manufacturer title for an historic third time, the team were also proud recipients of a third award meaning that rider, team and manufacturer all won their respective titles three years in a row.