Rea third in World Superbike series and Kawasaki snap him up for 2015

Jonathan Rea takes third in the World Superbike championship in the colours of Pata Honda after Sunday's final round at Qatar. It has since been announced that the local rider will compete for Kawasaki in 2015. INLT 45-913-CON

Jonathan Rea takes third in the World Superbike championship in the colours of Pata Honda after Sunday's final round at Qatar. It has since been announced that the local rider will compete for Kawasaki in 2015. INLT 45-913-CON

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East Antrim’s Jonathan Rea finished as runner-up in Sunday’s final World Superbike race of the season in Qatar, securing third place in the championship.

Rea had claimed fourth in the first 17-lap race under floodlights at the 5.380km Losail International Circuit after a blistering start from seventh place on the grid.

In race two, he got another great start and led the race in the early stages before dropping back to third.

However, knowing he had to fight for every available point, he got back past Tom Sykes to finish three seconds behind Sylvain Guintoli and take third place in the series by a single point from Marco Melandri.

“I’m really, really happy and what a way to finish the season here in Qatar under the lights,” he said.

Guintoli won both races on the factory Aprilia at the final round to clinch the title by six points from Sykes.

When the lights went out at Losail, Kawasaki announced Rea will partner Sykes in the 2015 Superbike World Championship.

Having made 140 race starts and taken 15 victories since his first full season back in 2009, Rea will be one of the pre-season favourites for the title in the forthcoming campaign.

After losing the title to Aprilia, KRT will start their drive to regain the crown when they begin their heavy testing schedule in Spain this month.

Guim Roda, Team Manager of KRT, commented: “We are sure he (Rea) can increase the whole team performance and he will be a very good team-mate with Tom Sykes.”

He added: “We expect to put on track two very strong riders next year so it is our idea try to win back the title with our two British weapons.”