eni FIM Superbike World Championship GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round Returns for Round Nine – Jonathan Rea: ‘I wouldn’t change anything about my racing past’

Jonathan Rea

International motorcycle attention turns to Monterey, Calif. this week as the Superbike World Championship descends on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Round Nine of its 2015 race season. This is the third consecutive year for World Superbike in Monterey, which provides fans with thrilling action on the tight circuit turns.

Complementing the weekend schedule is the California debut of MotoAmerica, which is enjoying its inaugural season. MotoAmerica is reinvigorating motorcycle racing in North America by reintroducing the sport to fans, while grooming a new generation of American and international racers for the world stage.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) has had an incredible 2015 WorldSBK so far and, after eight rounds completed, he leads the title race with an impressive 133-point margin over team mate Tom Sykes, courtesy of 11 race wins and 5 second places in the 16 races contested so far. WorldSBK.com caught up with the Ulsterman in Barcelona as he underwent some tests as part of his health and fitness program, scheduled by his team in partnership with the Hospital de Barcelona.

This season has been a huge turnaround for you compared to your past in WorldSBK. How do you feel about it?
I take every day as it comes and don’t look back. I always believed in my potential and I knew one day I could fight for the Championship. To be honest I wouldn’t change anything about my past because it has made me a much better and more rounded rider. When I rode the ZX-10R in winter testing I immediately understood the level of the bike and the people around me. I knew it was my time and I thought: “I’m ready and so is my bike.”

I’m not thinking about what’s happening race by race. I don’t really want to be carried away, I’m just enjoying the moment.

Funnily enough, you have never won on any of the next five tracks on the calendar. Are you planning on doing something about it?
I’m looking forward to all the upcoming rounds. I had a great feeling with Magny-Cours and Jerez, which is still a ‘young track’ for World Superbike. I could not race there in 2013 due to my broken leg, so last year it was my first-ever round at Jerez. In Qatar last year I had probably one of the best races of my career (Race Two), I had really good fun there and the bike was working very well. I feel this year, with the ZX-10R, we have more chances of doing well at each of the tracks we still have to visit. I’m also looking forward to Laguna Seca and also to Sepang, because it’ll be the first real ‘horsepower test’ of the season and I feel the Aprilias will be very strong there.

What about the upcoming round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca?
I had to sit out the races in 2013 due to injury, while last year I made a silly mistake during Superpole and crashed. It’s a difficult track to pass but with the red flags I ended up being on the podium in Race Two, which was good. That weekend proved how critical qualifying is for the outcome of the two Sunday races, so we need to make sure to work methodically through the weekend, as we always do, although with a bit more emphasis on Superpole. We could have done more in Misano, too, but the gap was only 0.2secs to pole position. We definitely need to be on the front row at Laguna.

Superbike World Championship Top 10 Standings

1.     J. REA         KAWASAKI     375
2.     T. SYKES     KAWASAKI     242
3.     L. HASLAM     APRILIA     226
4.     C. DAVIES     DUCATI     213
5.     J. TORRES     APRILIA     140
6.     S. GUINTOLI     HONDA     127
7.     D. GIUGLIANO     DUCATI     106
8.     M. VD MARK     HONDA     97
9.     L. MERCADO     DUCATI     90
10.     M. BAIOCCO     DUCATI     89

Manufacturers Standing 

1.     KAWASAKI     390
2.     DUCATI     268
3.     APRILIA     243
4.     HONDA     153
5.     SUZUKI     94
6.     BMW     87
7.     MV AGUSTA     43
8.     EBR     4