Northern Irishman could become the most successful rider in history
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) keeps on breaking records and etching his name even further in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship history books, but how far can he and his ZX-10RR go? Securing his fourth back to back world title this season was historical, but he now matches King Carl Fogarty in all time championships. Can he become the first man to get to five titles in WorldSBK? 2019 will reveal all….
The first season Rea swung his leg over the Ninja machine, he has been a force to be reckoned with and he just keeps on winning. Taking 14 wins and 23 podiums in his first season with Kawasaki, it was clear the Northern Irishman got on very well in green and would be a strong force in WorldSBK. Unaware of the records he would go onto break, Rea was crowned champion in 2015 after a sensational season. Taking back to back titles in 2016 – at Losail International Circuit - with 23 podiums again but this time only nine wins, he faced more competition but ultimately secured the goal of the world championship.
History began to be made in 2017, when he became the first ever rider to win three consecutive world championships as he took the crown with two remaining, in Magny-Cours. Sealing the title with the win, he took 24 podium finishes in a sensational season and was back into the double figures of victories with 16. Not even a reversed grid rule or regulation changes could slow Rea down, and 2018 welcomed his most successful season to date. Making history by over-taking Fogarty’s overall win record, Rea secured his 60th victory in the Czech Republic to make him the rider with the most victories ever in WorldSBK history.
And the records keep on coming; hoping to break his overall points scoring record set last season of 556 as well as take the most victories in one season, with the record currently standing at 17.
But what’s next for Rea? Will the unstoppable 31-year-old continue to be unstoppable? Will he make history to become the first ever five-time WorldSBK champion? With an addition of an extra race per weekend, a new team-mate, new bikes on the grid and a whole new set of challenges, it will be a big ask once again for Rea.
Recently interviewed by the BBC, Rea gave a look into his mind-set and it’s hard to see this changing into 2019: "I have the fear of losing. I'm at the top now so the only way is down. Unless I invest in myself moving forward I'm going to get beaten.
"I believe I train better and smarter than anyone. We have a human performance manager at Kawasaki, we are regularly blood tested and looked after, we try to be as healthy as possible and stay clear of illnesses.”
But with his smooth riding style, the way he adapts himself to the ZX-10RR and his sensational team behind him who always seem to be that one step ahead when the bikes take to the track on Friday morning, it’s hard to see him not being back at the front in 2019.
Don’t forget you can follow all the new and sensational action from 2019 and beyond with the WorldSBK VideoPass, and see parts of history coming together once again.