Four of a kind for Jonathan Rea.
Four of a kind: Jonathan Rea secures 2018 WorldSBK Championship crown
Northern Irish rider makes history once more
After facing one of his toughest challenges yet, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has secured another stunning feat, taking his fourth consecutive MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship title by a sensational 130 points at France’s Magny-Cours overnight.
Rea sliced past teammate Tom Sykes in the early stages of Saturday’s race one and imperious from there to snap victory number 13 of the year. Sykes took second from his record-breaking pole, with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) completing the podium after a three-way fight for third. (see full race report below).
At 31 years of age, the racer from Ballymena in Northern Ireland is continuing to make history with the unstoppable combination of his racing talent and the ZX-10RR. Australia has a part claim to the affable rider, with the four-time champ married to Phillip Island’s Tatia Rea. They have two young sons and return each off-season to their Phillip Island home for a summer break.
Since joining Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK in 2016, Rea has been a winning machine, taking four back to back world titles and 52 victories in four seasons.
Making history in 2018 by breaking the overall victory record of 60 wins in WorldSBK with a race one victory at Brno, he has now become only the second rider to take four titles in the world’s fastest production based motorbike championship, and the first to do so consecutively.
2018 has proven to be his biggest challenge yet, as himself and his Provec Racing squad have been working around the new regulations which were introduced this season – aiming to create more parity throughout the class. Adding extra challenges, Rea took it all in his stride, despite a tough opening round at Phillip Island which saw him hindered by the flu and a pre-season finger injury. Leaving Australia with a top five and second position finish, he was ready to bounce back in Thailand.
Chang International Circuit was the setting for the second round of the season, and Rea was back to his best in race one – taking the victory by 1.5s after a strong fight from Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) and Chaz Davies’ (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) Panigale R machines. However race two threw up some challenges, as his Ninja machine had some brake issues in the Thai heat meaning he could only secure a top four finish. Leading the championship charge as the series headed to Europe, there was never a doubt Rea was the man to beat.
Beginning what was set to be an intense part of the season, the British rider once again took the victory in race one as the series took on MotorLand Aragon in a stunning performance. But the reversed grid rules offered a challenge to Rea in race two, and he was unable to match Davies’ pace as he took second position in Spain.
With the championship heading straight to TT Circuit Assen for a back to back race weekend, Rea was ready to take on his new crown as the King of Assen. With a stunning record around the Dutch circuit, a win in race one meant he was the most successful rider at Assen. But he was unable to stop team-mate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in race two, after the British rider put on a stunning performance.
Taking on Ducati territory at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrai di Imola for round five, Rea found his time to shine in 2018. Taking a double victory around the notoriously tight and twisty track, he also secured his 59th WorldSBK win and got one step closer to the overall win record. Stunning with his pace around the technical Italian circuit, he was able to leave Imola with a 47 point championship lead and on the verge of making more history.
Welcoming a return to his home turf of Donington Park, Rea had a more difficult weekend in Leicestershire – suffering from arm pump. Unable to hold off the stunning pace from debut winner Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Rea left the United Kingdom with a second and third position finish but an extension of his championship lead. Determined to be back on top in round seven, Automotodrom Brno was a weekend of ups and downs in Rea’s title chase. Experiencing ecstasy in race one, with his 60th victory to secure him the overall win record in WorldSBK, he saw heartbreak in race two with his first DNF of the season following a coming together with his team-mate.
But off the back of his DNF, he went onto win four races in a row. Stunning under the Californian sunshine of Laguna Seca, Rea was untouchable around the fast and flowing circuit and he looked to be riding his ZX-10RR on rails. Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli was the setting for round nine, and the round before the summer break. Important to enter the break off the back of a strong weekend, Rea was once again unstoppable with his team and he took a stunning double victory, although had to work for it in race two.
After nine weeks away from racing action, the Nolan Portuguese Round welcomed a sensational return to action for Rea, and he was able to secure his third consecutive double victory in Portugal. On top of this, it was his fifth and sixth consecutive victory in 2018 and he now had one hand on the world title after a sweltering weekend at the undulating track.
Returning to the scene of the track which saw Rea take his 2017 crown, Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours took on another huge importance for the Northern Irishman. But he was on such a roll heading to France, it was hard to see anyone stopping him, and no one did. Rea was crowned world champion in France for the second season in succession, writing even more history as he takes a sensational fourth back to back title.
Congratulate Jono with #RE4CH4MP
That’s a wrap – Rea takes the win and title no 4 in style
Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took the 2018 WorldSBK crown in style at France’s Magny Cours, slicing past teammate Tom Sykes in the early stages of Saturday’s race one and imperious from there to snap victory number 13 of the year. Sykes took second from his record-breaking pole, with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) completing the podium after a three-way fight for third.
It was Sykes who got the holeshot from pole, getting a lightning start and leaving teammate Rea to trail him in second – albeit in very close company. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) kept his P3 from the front row as they shot off the line, with Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) slotting into fourth as the field made their way around lap one. But Rea remained threatening in second and feinted a number of moves, before the reigning champion pounced for the lead not long after.
Just off the fight at the front, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) took an early tumble, followed not long after by a DNF for Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) in the same mid top ten group. Rea pulled away from Sykes as Fores hustled past Savadori and took over in third, but the Italian stayed close and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) began to hone in on that battle.
Rea crossed the line for win number 13 of the season and his fourth crown in style, with Sykes just behind his teammate in another impressive 1-2 for Kawasaki. Fores was able to fight off Savadori, and both just stayed ahead of Davies by the flag. Davies needed to finish second to stop Rea taking the crown, but after a mid top ten qualifying and still recovering from a broken collarbone, it was a tall order. The Welshman nevertheless put together an impressive ride in difficult circumstances – much like his races in Portugal. His teammate Marco Melandri, after a tough qualifying, moved through from p12 on the grid to take sixth.
Seventh went to Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) as he moved up from tenth on the grid, getting past Toprak Razgatliouglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) at mid-distance and steadily pulling away from the Turk, who came home in P8. Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW) had been fighting him in the latter stages but couldn’t make it stick, and just at the end was pipped to ninth by Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia).
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) took P11, ahead of Jordi Torres in P12 for MV Agusta Reparto Corse.
Four titles in a row, 13 race wins this season and two rounds still to go make for another amazing season for world champion and part-time Aussie, Jonathan Rea
WorldSBK Race one results Magny Cours 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Xavi Fores – Ducati 3. Lorenzo Savadori – Aprilia
World Championship results:
Jonathan Rea - (sealing 4th WorldSBK Championship) 445 points
Chaz Davies – Ducati 315 points
Micahel Van der Mark – Yamaha 293 points
Tom Sykes – Kawasaki 260 points
Michael Melandri – Ducati 239 points
Jonathan Rea Four Times Superbike World Champion.
THE REA RECORDS
FOUR TIMES SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPION
Read the journey Jonathan Rea made to write his name in the WorldSBK history books
As the sun sets on the final European round of the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, one man’s party is just starting as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has made history once more: becoming the first rider to take four consecutive World Superbike Championships.
But how did he get here? How has a young rider with great ambition from Ballymena in Northern Ireland cemented his name in the WorldSBK history books? We take a look over his career highlights, all of which paved the way for him to become the most successful rider in WorldSBK history.
Heading into the early parts of his career, Rea was born with big ambition in the world of motocross, but he soon realized he had a strong talent on the roads:
2nd February 1987 – Born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland (One of Four)
1997 – British 60cc motocross champion
2003 – Moved over to road racing – British 125GP Championship
But it wasn’t until 2004 that he made the switch to the asphalt:
2004 – Joined British Supersport Championship
2007 – British Superbike Championship Runner-Up
2008 – Debuted in World Supersport Championship and wild card in WorldSBK
His road to the top in WorldSBK began in 2009, as he made the full time switch to the world stage into the Ten Kate Honda garage:
2009 – Moved to WorldSBK with Honda, first victory in Misano’s Race Two
After success with Honda and taking 15 victories overall, he then made the switch to become the man in green and an unstoppable force. Signing for Kawasaki in 2015, he took his first win in the opening race and the success continued to escalate. Crowned champion in his first year with the ZX-10R, the success he has seen with the Kawasaki Racing Team has been nothing short of sensational.
With a strong crew around him – particularly his crew chief Pere Riba – Rea has built up a strong unit of crew who understand how he and the bike works. On top of this, his family are able to keep him grounded throughout the highs and the lows. But as he continues to break records every season he swings his leg over the ZX-10RR, it remains to be seen if anyone can stop Rea.
2015 – Joined Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK, – 14 victories and 24 podiums.
2015 – Secured his . His 5th for Kawasaki.
2015 – 25th WorldSBK victory secured in .
2016 – Took 30th WorldSBK victory in the. 9 wins and 23 podiums.
2016 – . First back to back world champion since Carl Fogarty.
2017 – Won his.
2017 – First rider in history to and secured his 50thrace win. 16 wins and 24 podiums secured.
2018 – Equalled Carl Fogarty’s overall win record at Imola, his 59th overall.
2018 – Secured.
2018 – Won his 66th race win at Portimao – making it three back to backs in a row at one circuit.
2018 – Secured his fourth world title at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the first rider in history to take four consecutive titles.
WorldSBK round 10
Rea performs a perfect Portuguese weekend
Rea needs 34 points to clinch the title… “At this point it’s my championship to lose.”
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) showed tremendous composure once again to win his seventh consecutive race at the Portuguese circuit of Algarve and his sixth consecutive win in this year’s MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, after a thrilling battle through two thirds of the race with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). Rea eventually beat off the Welshman, and then faced and fought off Michael van der Mark. The Pata Yamaha rider took second, while Ducati’s Marco Melandri was third, and Davies crossed in fourth.
A brilliant start from Rea pushed him straight up to third inside lap one, with Davies and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) keeping their grid positions in one and two. Flying past his teammate in lap three, the Northern Irishman embarked on a stunning duel with Davies.
The battle quickly became tougher than Rea would have preferred. A first strike at the beginning of lap eight saw Davies defend his position on the exit of turn 1; two laps later, Rea dashed into the slipstream again, this time successfully, but the Ducati found the space to counterattack at the braking point of turn 5. Meanwhile, Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) closed into a mere few tenths of a second of the squabbling pair, with van der Mark also moving near.
The pressure eventually got to the Welshman, however, in lap 12: Davies went wide at turn 10, being comfortably passed by the Kawasaki with no chance to respond. Melandri tried a move on his teammate for second on the return through the main straight, but both went in too hot, leaving the door open for the trailing Yamaha to swoop in and climb to second in one smooth move.
With the memory of their stunning battles at Assen and Donington Park fresh in the minds of all WorldSBK fans, Rea and van der Mark set out for another thriller. The reigning champion’s pace was however just too strong for the Dutchman to surpass at this point, and he remains undefeated since Laguna Seca.
Melandri secured third place at the flag, joining Rea and van der Mark on the podium for the third consecutive race. While Davies’ pace faded off after his mid-race battles, the Welshman did manage to hold off Sykes for fourth position and complete a good weekend considering the circumstances leading up to the Portuguese round.
“It’s mad, I can’t quite believe it right now,” he admitted post-race. “We knew coming here a few weeks ago for the test that we were quite strong in the hot conditions. All weekend we kept the same bike and I just tried to adapt my style to the track”.
After a comfortable race one win, Rea enjoyed the tough battle on Sunday with Davies: “In those early laps I had such a good pace to arrive with Chaz, but then my pace dropped because I couldn’t find a way past. He was like an animal on the brakes, and all the areas where I was fast he was also fast, so I had to get creative with the passing. In the end I found a nice one at turn 10 at the top of the hill and it stuck”.
Facing his first opportunity to take the title in France, Rea is clear: “The target is to try and win the championship at Magny-Cours. Right now, we’re on the way. At this point it’s my championship to lose, by stupidity or making mistakes. I want to try and do the best I can every weekend and limit mistakes. That target’s in sight now”.
Further down the field, Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) made amends for his mistake in race one by rising to sixth in Sunday’s race, one position ahead of his teammate Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia). Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) was the best independent rider on track at Portimao, crossing the line in eighth.
Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) couldn’t keep hold of his front row start and finishes race two in ninth position, just ahead of Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in tenth and eleventh, respectively.
The KRT leader now holds a 116-point lead over Davies in the championship standings, meaning that he could clinch his fourth crown in race one or two at Magny-Cours in two weeks’ time. With six races remaining and unbeaten since Laguna Seca, Rea needs just 34 points from here onwards to claim the title.
WorldSBK race 2: 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Michael van der Mark - Yamaha 3. Marco Melandri – Ducati
Championship point score after 10 rounds: 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 420 points 2. Chaz Davies – Ducati 304 points 3. Michael van der Mark – Ducati – 284 points
WorldSBK Race 1 report: Flawless Rea extends Portimao winning streak
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has extended his incredible winning streak at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve with another victory in race one on Saturday, his sixth consecutive win at the Portuguese rollercoaster and his eleventh of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season.
The Northern Irishman was stunningly dominant at Portimao, taking the lead inside the first lap and crossing the line comfortably ahead of Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in second and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in third.
There was drama very early on at Portimao for polesitter Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia). The Irishman had started from the front for the first time since 2013, but a slow move off the blocks saw him get caught up in the field of riders behind at turn 1. A few seconds later, Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) misjudged his turn, clashing with Laverty and taking both men out early.
Jonathan Rea took advantage of the early chaos, flying into the lead ahead of Melandri through the exit from turn 1, with Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) – in search of his first podium finish in WorldSBK – close behind, while Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) suddenly found the form that had evaded him since Friday, shooting up to fifth position inside one lap from fourteenth on the grid.
While Rea was eventually beaten for the Superpole earlier in the day, the Northern Irishman’s strength at Portimao this weekend, and at the official test three weeks ago, is his unbelievable consistency. Coupled with the best overall pace on track – keeping his lap times under 1’43 for the entire first half of the race – there was no stopping Rea in race one, as he swept away into a 2-3 second gap.
There was promise of a thrilling tricolore battle behind for second, but it lasted just half the race: Savadori slid out at the end of the main straight in lap 12 and put an end to a miserable afternoon for the Milwaukee Aprilia team, just hours after their best qualifying performance of 2018.
With one Italian out, the other, Melandri strolled to his best result since the Acerbis Czech round in second, turning good pace into a fantastic result. Michael van der Mark, completed a quiet yet professional race behind, took the remaining podium place, his eighth of the season; Davies followed with an incredibly valuable fourth place that landed him pole for Sunday’s grid, in what had previously been a very difficult race weekend.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) made it to the chequered flag in fifth, completing a solid points-haul for the green machines. Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) meanwhile finished race one in sixth, his best result since returning to WorldSBK this season.
Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) celebrated his future debut in MotoGP™ with seventh position at the Portuguese rollercoaster, which pushes him ahead of Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) in the championship standings, after a mechanical failure ended the Brit’s race early.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the best independent rider in Race One at Portimao, coming in eighth and just ahead of fellow 2018 debutant Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in ninth. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) completed the top ten after struggling through the early stages of the race.
WorldSBK Race 1: 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Marco Melandri - Ducati 3. Michael van der Mark – Yamaha