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Jonathan Rea at the 2018 WorldSBK French round, four times world champion
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Rea drinks-in record fourth WorldSBK title

Oct 012018

After three rounds and six races of undefeated form Jonathan Rea was again readying his paint to scrawl all over the WorldSBK wall prior to the tenth round of thirteen. The series dropped into the distinctive layout of Magny-Cours with the Kawasaki man only needing to keep his Pirelli tyres firmly fixed and spinning on the French asphalt. With another chequered flag in the first dash of the weekend on Saturday the 31 year old Northern Irishman made yet another slice of FIM motorcycle racing history.

Rea, already the most successful WorldSBK racer ever thanks to his efforts in 2018 that saw him overhaul Carl Fogarty’s previous win record, was overwhelmed by his loyal crew at the unique Superbike paddock podium era. It was a special moment. Rea had become the very first athlete to post three consecutive championship wins in 2017 – a feat that caught the attention of the British public and he was voted second in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, one of the most prestigious sports awards ceremonies in the world – and his 18 podiums and 13 victories this season pushed that number up to four.

“It is absolutely incredible to win four,” he grinned. “Sometimes even after winning back-to-back championships, or three in a row I have to say it is hard to find words to speak about what you have just done. It is like we are riding the wave now with our Ninja ZX-10RR, with incredible people around me. Whilst I always dreamed of being in this position I never thought it was realistic. It was so fitting that Guim, the team manager, allowed my dad to come and collect the team award on the podium. I got really choked up when he came up because it just reminded me of growing up in Northern Ireland and travelling all round with my parents to motocross races. Then getting my first pro ride in road racing, and my parents letting go. But they have always had my back. So that was super-nice.”

 

“Pere and my team gave me a great bike this weekend and the target was clear,” said Rea, who is renowned for his attention to detail and remarkable feeling on the Kawasaki racebike with which he has remained undefeated since 2015. “We have been in this position before, so there was no kind of nervousness or anxiety around, it was really positive energy. On track Fabien [Foret] has been analysing what we can do and the team worked super-hard all weekend to get the best out of the bike when the tyre was dropping. In the hot conditions, at the end of the race, that is what we worked towards today. The feeling with the bike just kept coming and I was able to knock it off on the last lap and take it all in. I was aware of the crowd there and what I was about to achieve so that last lap there I thought about winning the championship. It is incredible, and an incredible journey.”

“With the pressure off I was able to ride a bit more aggressively. I put myself in great positions in the first laps and found great track position early on,” said Rea who can now play with the Superbike field further in the two rounds remaining. WorldSBK is far from done this year. The championship will inaugurate the new San Juan Vilicum circuit in Argentina next month and then head for the now-traditional curtain closer under the Losail lights in Qatar.

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