REA OPENS UP: ‘Frustrated MotoGP™ door never opened, proud of WorldSBK achievements’

Friday, 6 August 2021 14:38 GMT

WorldSBK’s most successful rider talks all things in a no-limits chat, discussing everything from his teammate, his opportunities and for how much longer he sees himself in the WorldSBK paddock

The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is proving to be one of the fiercest yet as the title tussle flicks between Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK). Ahead of the Tissot Czech Round kicking off into racing action, Rea shed light on a variety of topics, from the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR to his motivation and the potential for a MotoGP™ move in the future. As well as this, you can watch the full interview which is at the top of this article.

Starting with the new Kawasaki, Rea was unequivocal in the improvements made: “The biggest strength is the braking stability; the stability of the chassis, change of direction, electronics are very strong. The biggest area we can improve is power because we don’t enjoy the luxury now of just passing for free on the straight. Also, we’ve been working really hard in the last races about the natural turning of the bike, the agility. I feel at Assen, we really made a huge step forward from that.

So where does Rea’s motivation come from, especially having achieved six WorldSBK titles? “It’s funny when people ask me about motivation because it just changes year on year. I feel like I don’t have that anger inside to want to make something happen. I’m more at peace with myself with what I’ve achieved. Things are happening more fluidly; I’m not forcing a lap time to come. The motivation is something that’s never gone from my very first win.”

“The level of WorldSBK is super high, last year we had seven different winners and already this year, we’ve had four. Different manufacturers are stepping up too; in the past, we’ve always had Kawasaki and Ducati, Yamaha have been getting stronger, now we also have Honda already fast at the front and also BMW. It’s in a good area, and it means that every weekend, if a rider can put a good Friday and Saturday together, they can be battling for the podium which is really good.”

Talking about teammate Alex Lowes’ new deal for 2022, Rea looks forward to a continuation of harmony and strength inside KRT for 2022: “It’s nice to have some continuity. It’s nice for the team, nice for Alex and another great opportunity for him. We have an incredible team, a great bike, and I believe he has really good potential. Maybe he hasn’t shown full potential yet but I’m sure with time he’ll get there.”

Talking of his future, Rea stated: “About my future, I have no idea. All I do is know is that I have an incredible opportunity with KRT for 2022 again but ahead of that, I don’t know. I still feel like I am in the best moment; about new challenges such as MotoGP™, I don’t know. I’m a little bit frustrated with this to be honest because if you look at my CV, a six-time World Champion, I’ve been knocking on the door of MotoGP™ teams but the door never opens. I’m not sure why but I am so happy here and I am happy with what I achieved.”

How long will Rea continue to be one of WorldSBK’s star attractions? Well, he answered: “I’m so fortunate to have a race winning package here in WorldSBK with KRT, an incredible team. I can’t choose. Maybe if they still love me in two years’ time, we’ll be together, but you never know what racing can bring. I am so, so motivated to keep winning in World Superbike. To keep having fun with my team.

“Somebody reminded me that this weekend could be my 200th podium and it’s just incredible, I have so many good memories form this sport and I’ve had an incredible life, an incredible story and I’m proud to be at such a number. I’m having fun, that’s the biggest positive but I think in the next years my future will be decided by the feeling and I’m sure one day, I’ll wake up, see my flight ticket and think ‘oh, I have to go away again’. That’s the time to stop but I don’t see that. Maybe it’s two or three years away.”

Watch Jonathan Rea in action throughout the rest of 2021 and find out if he can make it a seventh successive title with the WorldSBK VideoPass!