Four-time World Champion doubles up on Sunday for his eighth straight victory, with the points record in sight
After clinching his fourth straight WorldSBK title in Race 1, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) showed no signs of slowing down in Race 2 at the Acerbis French Round as he secured his eighth consecutive win of the season, matching the best World Superbike winning streak since Troy Bayliss did the same back in 2006.
“An incredible weekend, I just can’t thank my team enough for giving me such a good bike here,” began the Northern Irishman, reflecting on another phenomenal weekend. “Right from the off my teammate and I were really really strong so it was about polishing the finer details really. Today, coming from ninth, whilst I knew we had good stability on the brakes, we had really good agility so it seemed like I could turn tighter than my rivals and I just popped some passes, right on the inside of those long corners and I was able to get some clear track at the end and get it done. It’s almost dreamy, I can’t believe what we’re achieving right now and just so grateful to be in this position with Kawasaki racing team.”
Starting from ninth, Rea quickly carved his way forward after a great getaway to become locked in a battle with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) at the front, with Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in close persuit too. However, the 2018 Champion found it difficult to maneuver his Ducati counterpart, something he encountered in Portimao too:
“Yeah I probably should have learnt from Portimao to be honest because going into that T1 there I tried twice and went long, same here in that Turn 5, the Adelaide hairpin, we had the perfect gearing today with the wind and I could drag alongside him, and even put my nose in front.
“But I was waiting until he (Davies) braked and it was a really bad decision because he’s so strong on the brakes. So twice I went long and I just had to change the strategy a bit, he was struggling just a little bit with the turning into Turn 8 and I was able to stick it in there and make it work.”
So, after wrapping up the title for a fourth consecutive season, what does Rea have in mind for the rest of the season? The points record tally: “It’s a nice target to not switch off because now the big job is done. But it would be really nice to try and beat that points record we had last year, 556, but I’m trying not to think too much about what’s ahead right now.”
Can the Kawasaki rider continue his winning streak on uncharted territory when the WorldSBK paddock head to Argentina in two weeks’ time?