Rea: "If you’d told ten-year-old me, he would have laughed at you"

Monday, 14 May 2018 10:10 GMT

Record-tying win leaves Rea ecstatic, while Sykes picks up another hard-fought podium finish

It was all smiles in the Kawasaki Racing Team throughout the weekend, as their riders took 86 out of a possible 90 points, increased their lead in both the riders and manufacturers championships, and overall, left nothing but good sensations out on track.

Nobody exemplified these feelings on Sunday better than Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team). The reigning champion leaves the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola with 9 points more than his most immediate pursuer for the title, Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati), his first Double of the season, and to top it off, a historic record. After a shaky start, it’s all looking bright for the Northern Irishman, as the championship heads home to Donington.

Rea had a lot of fun at Imola. “My team gave me a great bike this weekend, especially after the Brno test where I found a better feeling with the ZX-10RR”, the double-winner tells “Today I was really nervous at the start of the race, because coming from the third row, anything can happen in the first lap. I had a terrible start, in turn 1 I got boxed in, but then I was able to stick some passes, albeit quite aggressive and close in some areas. That’s the nature of this race”.

“When I found myself in clear track, I set my good rhythm, I arrived to Chaz quite fast”, he continues. Then it was just a matter of trying to understand his rhythm, understand where he was fast. When I made the pass stick, I put two really good laps together, made a gap and brought it home. It was incredible”.

Rea grew up watching Carl Fogarty dominate the competition in the 1990s. Now, he has the same number of wins as the motor racing legend. “If you told me this when I was ten years old, I would have laughed at you”, he insists. “Each victory is special for its own individual reason. I just want to thank all those people, since I joined Superbike in 2009 to the current day”.

“I’m just living the dream”, Rea admits. “I go home at night, and sometimes I’ll sit at home with a glass of wine with my wife, and I’ll just feel really fortunate to be in this position, to live my life and ride motorbikes. That’s what I loved doing when I was a kid, and now it’s my job and I’m winning races. It’s incredible”.

While Tom Sykes’ (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) weekend was not as successful as his teammate’s, it was the first time this season he’s climbed onto the podium twice in one round. Now third in the championship, there’s definitely great progress in the Brit’s riding after a disappointing start.

Sykes had better feelings on the bike in Race 1 but still managed to climb up the field: “I’m happy we collected another podium in a difficult race, it shows good potential. We can be relatively satisfied with two podiums. This weekend probably belonged to Jonathan anyway, we could see that from Friday morning. It would be nice if we can reverse the roles, and try to hunt him down!”.

Now the championship heads to Donington, a track where Sykes has been almost untouchable in past years. “I don’t know why it’s special!”, Sykes says, surprisingly. “The easiest way to describe it is as a circuit of two halves, and I think because I don’t outshine in any area, I’m just consistent across the sectors, that’s really what I can put my success down to”.

Follow the KRT team’s path to Donington, with all the best content in the run-up to Round 6, only on the WorldSBK VideoPass.