Belfast Telegraph

Rea was super in powering to a World Superbike double

By Steven Beacom

When Jonathan Rea claimed the World Superbike title in 2015 it was rightly regarded as a magnificent achievement.The question was could he retain the crown in 2016? The answer was an emphatic yes!

Many bike fans felt that Rea winning this year's prize was even more impressive than his triumph first time around. After all, in 2016 Rea had become the man everyone else on the grid wanted to beat.

It's clear that the hugely talented Ballyclare man is going from strength to strength in motorcycling.

Over the course of the season, Rea had built up a commanding lead thanks to a series of superb performances.

As the year progressed, supporters of the Northern Ireland rider tried to work out where and when he would clinch the World Superbike title.

The glorious moment when Rea retained his crown came in Qatar as he finished second in the first race of the meeting to ensure that he could not be caught in the Championship.

It was another classy and professional performance from Rea in a season full of them as he became the first rider since Carl Fogarty in 1999 to win successive World Superbike titles.

Welshman Chaz Davies, who finished third in the Championship, may have won the race, but the title belonged to Kawasaki rider Rea with his team-mate from England Tom Sykes having to settle for the runner-up spot.

Rea was overjoyed to be champion for the second year running.

"The team did a wonderful job again this year and to be champion for the second successive season makes me feel very happy and proud," said Rea.

"We had a great start to the season and that set us up for the Championship.

"It's great for everyone to retain the title we won last year. It is incredible to think we have won back-to-back World Superbike Championships."

Only Fogarty, Doug Polen, Fred Merkel and Rea himself have achieved that feat.

"With good testing in the winter and more development we'll hope to be even stronger in 2017," said Rea. "The goal will be to make it three titles in a row but I'm happy to enjoy the second title for now."