Rea Turns the Tide in WorldSBK Championship Heading into GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round
In what is a truly sensational comeback, Jonathan Rea left Donington Park with a 24-point advantage in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship after being 61 points down just eight races ago.
It has been a rollercoaster season in WorldSBK with yet another twist in the tale of 2019, as Rea takes the championship lead for the first time. A win in Race 1 propelled the four-time WorldSBK champion to the head of the standings, as he capitalized fully on the crash of Álvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati). Backed up with wins in the Tissot Superpole Race and in Race 2, Rea has found himself back in the lead of the championship.
Race 2 started well for Rea, as he launched from pole position and led the field on the run through the opening lap. However, it was not an easy win, as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) raced through on Rea at Turn 11. The two then had a race-long tussle before Rea took the lead in the second half of the race. Seeing home Razgatlioglu, Rea took an incredible 78th win of his career to reignite the hopes of the entirety of the Northern Ireland and the rest of Great Britain to take the lead of the championship heading to the United States.
“It is incredible!” Rea exclaimed. “A similar story to Misano in Race 2 with Toprak; he was so strong on the brakes. My team gave me a great bike, physically this weekend I felt really good and I was able to extract the best potential from the Kawasaki ZX-10RR.
“We worked step-by-step throughout the weekend. In FP1, I was a little bit unhappy with our setup as we were quite far away – 0.9-second from the fastest lap time, but we arrive in the end with three race wins. To be back in the lead of the championship, I can’t quite believe it!”
Next up for Rea is WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, a circuit he secured both wins at in 2018 on his way to a fourth WorldSBK crown. Now with the championship lead, how does Rea approach the GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round of the championship?
“I love everything about Laguna Seca — I love being there; there is a really good atmosphere in the USA for World Superbike, the fans seem really enthusiastic,” responded Rea. “As a track, it is very demanding, and the undulations are incredible; you need a lot from a bike, you need it to be stable but also very agile.
“It is a great track and I can’t wait to get there, but first, I want to enjoy these next couple of days. Weekends like these don’t come along often and this is my best weekend of the season, so I am very happy.”
The battle rages on at this weekend’s MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round with MotoAmerica at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on July 12-14. 150 bikes are entered between WorldSBK and the five classes in MotoAmerica. The must-attend event also features the engaging Paddock Show that brings riders and legends to the fans, demo rides and exclusive ticket packages from five different manufacturers, and a thriving Hagerty Marketplace with even more vendors and family-friendly activities than last year.
Tickets are available at the gate. You can still reserve VIP Flagroom Hospitality and exclusive three-day Manufacturer Packages with parade laps by calling 831-242-8200. Children 15 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.