Belfast Telegraph

Ace Jonathan Rea's thrilling World Superbike Championship bid is gathering momentum

By Paul Lindsay

Northern Ireland's Jonathan Rea currently leads the World Superbike Championship by 87 points and he will be looking to extend that lead this coming weekend during the British round at Donington Park.

Having taken a remarkable eight top steps from the opening 10 races, and second place in the other two outings, the 28-year-old factory Kawasaki rider comes to round six as a massive favourite.

But as we have come to expect from Rea, his confidence never exudes arrogance, and his approach to round six is again pragmatic.

"I think the formula we have found in the working relationship between myself and the rest of the team, my crew chief and the engineers at KHI is going very well," explained the Ulsterman.

Looking ahead to Donington Park, where his only World Superbike victory came back in 2012 after a bit of good fortune at the final corner, Rea added: "We need to continue that way of working because Donington has presented some challenges to me in the past as a rider.

"Last year, when I look at the results and watch the races again, it is clear that it is a track that really suits the Ninja ZX-10R, thanks to the stability of the bike in the last sector and the agility and handling of the KRT ZX-10R in the first sector."

Rea's team-mate in the Kawasaki Racing Team, Tom Sykes, has taken the last four World Superbike race wins at the Derbyshire venue and will be looking to this, his home round, to land his first WSB top step of the year.

Ballyclare lad Rea is well aware of his team-mate's hunger to taste victory, and despite it also being the Ulsterman's adopted home round, he will not change his mindset or approach - with his crafty reply obviously geared towards Sykes in a bit of early event gamesmanship.

"I expect to be strong, but we do not know how strong we can be until Saturday qualifying after we have completed our preparations for the race," Rea (pictured) continued.

"Being a home round will not change how I approach the weekend, or how I ride. I do find it bizarre how some guys at home find that X-factor, but we just treat it like another race."

Always patriotic, Rea is well aware of the travelling support he will receive, which he welcomes with open arms.

"I have a lot of family coming over from Northern Ireland to support me at Donington Park and a lot of my British fans have been telling me on social media that they are coming, so it is going to be amazing," added Rea.

"So hopefully I can meet a lot of people during the event and make them all proud."

Also in action this coming weekend will be local men Alastair Seeley (Tyco BMW) and current Superstock championship leader Josh Elliott (Morello Racing).

The Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc class acts as one of the support classes at Donington Park, and following a hat-trick of triumphs at the Vauxhall International North West 200 - which put him level with Robert Dunlop on a record breaking 15 victories - the Wee Wizard will be looking to keep that run going for Tyco BMW.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph