Jonathan Rea’s Six Consecutive World Titles

Jonathan Rea at Portamao 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Having been born with racing in his blood with his father, Johnny a former Road Racing Champion and Isle of Man Junior TT winner, his grandfather sponsoring Joey Dunlop and his great-grandfather being a regular competitor on the Ulster Grand Prix circuit, it was little wonder that Jonathan Rea went on to be one of the greatest road racers that we have seen. An amazing achievement from someone who wasn’t even sure if he wanted to go into road racing!!!

Having been riding for his entire road racing career for Honda Racing and for six of those years in World Superbikes, Jonathan Rea made the switch to Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015 and took the racing world by storm.

In the 2015 World Superbikes Championship season there were 26 races of which Jonathan won the first race at Philip Island and there started an incredible run for the Irishman of 23 podiums, 14 of them of which were on the top step and 7 on the 2nd step. Jonathan amassed an incredible 548 points this season, just a few short of the all time record and he bagged his first World Superbike Championship three rounds early at Jerez in Spain. A very impressive start with the Kawasaki team.

Jonathan Rea Misano WSBK. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

In 2016 there were 26 races of which Jonathan won 9 of them with 9 second place finishes and 5 third places, a total of 23 podiums and at the end of the season which went down to the wire and was decided in the last race of the season at Qata, he was crowned World Champion again and now joined a select group of double World Champions: Carl Fogarty, Troy Baylis, Max Biaggi, James Toseland, Troy Corser, Colin Edwards, Doug Polen and Fred Merkel.

Jonathan is now one of only four World Champions who have had back to back championships, he joins this illustrious group of riders alongside Fred Merkel, Doug Polen and Carl Fogarty.

Again in 2017 there were 26 races of which Jonathan won an impressive 16 of them with an incredible 24 podiums in total. During this year Jonathan had the largest points finish in the history of the championship breaking Colin Edwards 2002 record and was crowned triple world champion. Jonathan was now in a very select group of triple World Champions alongside Carl Fogarty and Troy Baylis. Jonathan being the only rider to have had three consecutive world titles.

Jonathan Rea celebrating at the Estoril GP WSBK 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

2018 sees the World Superbikes series hold 25 races, an incredible 17 of which were won by Jonathan equalling the most number of wins in a season previously set by Doug Pollen in 1992. Having been on the podium 22 times this season, Jonathan earned his fourth world title. The only other person in World Superbike history to have won four titles is Carl Fogarty. A truly incredible achievement for both riders. Jonathan, again, being the only rider to have had four consecutive world titles.

Jonathan wasn’t finished yet. In 2019 there was a record 37 races that season. Having got off to a slow season points wise due to the arrival of Ducati’s new rider, Alvaro Bautista, who dominated the first four rounds of the season, Jonathan went on to win 17 races this season and was on the podium an incredible 34 times with 16 second place finishes and one third place. A truly outstanding achievement and one which earned him his fifth World Championship by the time they got to Magny Cours.

Jonathan is the only rider in the history of the Championship to have achieved five world titles and indeed five consecutive world titles, and he was now truly in a class of his own.

Jonathan Rea Estoril WSBK. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

During this year, Jonathan also took part in the Suzuka 8 Hour event for Kawasaki with teammates Leon Haslam and Toprak Razgatlioglu.

In a dramatic ending to the race, Jonathan, who was riding the final leg of the race, slid off after another bike had deposited fluid on the track with just two minutes of time left in the event and the race was red flagged. As the Kawasaki team did not make it back to the paddock within the stipulated five minute window, it lead to Yamaha’s team of Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga being declared winners.

Kawasaki appealed the decision as official data showed Jonathan’s team were leading by 18.720 seconds from Yamaha. The appeal was upheld and the trio were finally declared the winners.

Jonathan Rea Estoril WSBK 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Yet still there was more to come from the Northern Irish rider. Although 2020 has been a somewhat unprecedented year for all motorsport, having started the season at Philip Island at the beginning of March where we saw Jonathan crash out of Race 1 and win Race 2, there was then a long break before racing finally got underway again in Spain at the end of July/beginning of August.

In the remaining 23 races of the season, Jonathan won 10 of those with a total of 17 podiums and rode straight into the record books with his sixth consecutive World Championship at the season ending Estoril with two races to spare. Again the only rider in the history of the Championship to have achieved this. A truly awe inspiring achievement.

Jonathan has also set all time records for race wins, points, podiums and fastest laps. In 2018 Jonathan took his 60th career win at Brno surpassing the record of Carl Fogarty.

Jonathan Rea Celebrating his six WSBK titles. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Having crashed in the final race of the 2020 season, Jonathan will have to wait until the 2021 season to achieve his 100th career World Superbike win.

Jonathan is arguably one of the most talented young racers in any class of competition today.

Karen Bristow

What makes Jonathan Rea a success – from the fans

When Jonathan Rea took the 2020 World Superbike Championship for the sixth time it made him the most successful World Superbike Rider in the history of the series. He is also credited with the highest number of race wins in the Championship.

Before moving to Superbikes, Rea was runner up in World Supersport in 2008 on the Ten Kate Honda and previously took the HM Plant Honda to be runner up in the 2007 BSB Championship.

In 2012, Rea made two MotoGP appearances replacing the injured Casey Stoner. He finished both inside the top ten – 8th in Misano and 7th at Aragon before making his return to World Superbikes.

So what is it that has helped the 33 year old from just outside Larne to be so successful? We asked our social media followers their thoughts, and there were clear themes – dedication, commitment, riding style and race craft as well as a supportive team and family.

@Simon46storm called out dedication, commitment and being surrounded by a supportive team.

@vickster1984 also suggested the support of a team who understand you as a person and are willing to learn and grow with you, has played a part.

Earlier this year, Rea said himself ‘I’m really happy at Kawasaki, it suits the way I work. I have a great support network around me, and my mechanics are incredible. When things aren’t going well, instead of feeling the pressure of why we aren’t winning, they are really pushing me up and helping me. That helps you in the tough times”

 

Jonathan Rea is set to break all the records in WorldSBK history.

As well as the team, @LJHammond1 attributed Rea’s success to being fast and smooth, and conserving his tyres. He tweeted: ‘Fast, smooth, conserves his tyres (Sykes often out-qualified him and remained in contention until the closing laps when his tyres went off but Rea’s didn’t), wins most of his races and usually finishes when he can’t win (unlike Davies who often crashed from a winning position)’.

It is true – Rea can set a pace that affords him a comfortable lead yet crucially conserves the tyres, and undoubtedly this has been a strong contributor to his consistency. That said he is not averse to baring his teeth and showing aggression, the second race at Aragon in September this year (2020) was a case in point.

As well as the team, we cannot overlook the role family plays. @FifiSimbaBSD says “I think having children grounds you…..children don’t care how many races you have won when they want to play…” Family truly is important to Rea – two years ago, after clinching his fourth WSBK title he dedicated the win to them and said “My family sacrifice a lot to be here, trailing after me, supporting my dream, but I’m really proud to have them with me. They ground me in such a great way. It means a lot.”

With her tweet, @RSnugglebutt talks about his love for what he does, and how at the end of 2019 he said he would enjoy winning for as long as it lasts – he certainly has a great attitude, and it’s really apparent he has the love for the job as much as ever.

@MarkLawrence77 says it is down to hard work and along with @DoubleMRacing, reckons Rea should have gone to MotoGP (the latter also said he could still have been winning and adds ‘might as well set your World Championships in stone, keep winning so you are unbeatable with World Champs’).

Jonathan Rea 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

So what is next for the man who grew up in Ballyclare? Well, in June he renewed his contract on a multi season deal, so surely achieving a century of career victories must be in his sights (he’s currently on 99), and a seventh title in 2021 would bring him to the same number of consecutive titles achieved by Giacomo Agostini between 1966 and 1972. We are eagerly anticipating the start of the 2021 season to see how he does.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our question, but my favourite response to the question of what makes Jonathan Rea so successful has to be the one from @Paulmur22095740 who quite simply said… “Him!”

Laura Sawyer

A little bit of Jonathan Rea history

Jonathan Rea at the 2020 Philip Island Test. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Jonathan Rea, it seems, was born with racing in his blood. His father, Johnny is a former Road Racing Champion and Isle of Man Junior TT winner, his grandfather sponsored Joey Dunlop and his great-grandfather was a regular competitor on the Ulster Grand Prix circuit. It was little wonder then that Jonathan was only 2 ½ years old when he first sat on a bike barely able to reach the handlebars!

By the time he was six, Jonathan was racing in motocross and was runner up in 1997 in the British 60cc Motocross before moving up the classes, very successfully too.

So why did Jonathan make the switch to road racing in 1997 then?

Well during a tea break one day with his mechanic, they spotted an ad in a magazine asking for a young rider for the 125 class with Red Bull. Far from being enthusiastic about the idea himself, it was Jonathan’s mechanic who persuaded him to apply insisting that he would be really good at road racing. Jonathan put a few words and a resume together and sent it off.

Still not a hundred per cent sure that he wanted to go into road racing, Jonathan went to Ron Haslam’s Race School at Donington Park where he rode a CB500 in effort to start to understand a road bike and ascertain whether or not road racing was for him.

Jonathan Rea Estoril 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

Incredibly, out of hundreds of applications, Jonathan was one of only 20 picked and he spent the day at Rockingham. Five were then selected, Jonathan being one of them, for another try out at Cartagena in Spain where Jonathan was successful and joined Red Bull Rookies along with two other riders.

It wasn’t long before it could be seen that making the switch to road racing was a good move by Jonathan. A British Superbike ride on a factory Honda Fireblade was set up by Red Bull in 2005 in which Jonathan took pole and despite missing two races, finished 16th in the series. The following year Jonathan finished 4th in the BSB Championship in what was only his second year of road racing.

In 2007 Jonathan rode for the Harris factory team where he had his first podium victory at Mondello Park and finished 2nd in the BSB Championship. Jonathan’s motocross mechanic was definitely right to persuade Jonathan to send off that application, he obviously saw something in him.

Also during 2007, Jonathan competed in and won with his teammate, Ryuichi Kiyonari, a three hour endurance race and the pair were subsequently entered into the Suzuka 8 hour race on a Honda factory bike.

Later in 2007 Jonathan signed a three year deal with Ten Kate Honda riding in the Supersport World Championship for the 2008 season and then progressing onto the Superbike World Championship in 2009 and 2010 having turned down a ride with the factory Xerox Ducati WSBK team and the option of riding for HM Plant Honda and Rizla Suzuki in the British Superbike Championship.

It wasn’t long before Jonathan had his first win in WSSP which came at Brno followed by two further wins at Brands Hatch and Vallelunga. Of the twelve races he competed in during this year, Jonathan had six podium finishes, three wins, one second place and two thirds.

At the end of the 2008 season Jonathan switched to the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda WSBK team therefore making his WSBK debut at Portimao in the final round of the 2008 Championship.

In 2009 Jonathan had two third place podiums before his first WSBK win at Misano. A further win in Germany and then one second place and five third place finishes meant that Jonathan finished fifth overall in the Championship, second best rookie of the season behind Ben Spies (who won the WSBK Championship).

Jonathan Rea at Aragon 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

The 2010 season ended slightly better with Jonathan finishing fourth overall having had ten podium finishes, four of which were wins, five second place finishes and one third.

Of 18 races in the 2011 season, Jonathan only managed a podium five times, two of which were wins and three second place finishes and ended the season down in 9th overall but the following season he finished fifth overall with six podiums. The 2013 season was not good again when he finished in 9th overall again with only one win during the season but two second places and one third.

In what would be his final year with Ten Kate Racing in 2014, Jonathan was on the podium nine times having had four wins, one second place and four third places finishes and finished 3rd overall – his best result in WSBK to date.

Jonathan made a brief appearance in MotoGP when in 2012 he had his debut for the Repsol Honda Team replacing an injured Casey Stoner in two races at San Marino where he finished 8th and Aragon where he finished 7th.

Having been riding a Honda for his entire road racing career, in what would turn out to be a career changing move, Jonathan moved to the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015 with Tom Sykes as his teammate. In his first year with the Kawasaki team, we saw Jonathan dominate the season with an impressive twenty-three podiums, fourteen of which were wins, seven second place and two third place and his first WSBK Championship. WoW!

Jonathan Rea 2020. Picture courtesy of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK

The rest, as they say, is history – Jonathan went on to win the WSBK Championships in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The first person to have won six consecutive WSBK Championships.

Jonathan has gone on to break records in WSBK with most wins in a season, most points in a season and most podiums in a season.

A truly awe inspiring achievement from someone who wasn’t sure if he even wanted to go into road racing!!!

Karen Bristow

Jonathan Rea wins his 6th Consecutive WorldSBK Title

Round 8 of the WorldSBK took place at Estoril and in order to keep the championship alive and stop Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) from claiming his 6th consecutive World Title, Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) needs to win here this weekend.

It was an incident packed Superpole where we saw both Rea and Redding crash out with both bikes badly damaged. Fortunately for Rea, he had set a lap time before his crash which meant that although he was unable to get back out on track to set any further lap times, he started from 15th on the grid unlike Redding who started at the back of the grid having not set a time.

Claiming his first ever pole was Toprak Razgatlioglu for the (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) ahead of Leon Haslam (Team HRC) and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team).

Race One

The starting grid for Race 1 looked like this:

Row 1 : Razgatlioglu : Haslam : Gerloff Row 2 : Davies : Rinaldi : van der Mark

Row 3 : Lowes : Bautista : Fores Row 4 : Sykes : Folgar : Baz

Row 5 : Caricasulo : Laverty : Rea Row 6 : Mercado : Ferrari : Morais

Row 7 : Takahashi : Granado : Cresson Row 8 : Redding

With 21 laps of racing, Race 1 got underway with Razgatlioglu getting off to a great start and in the lead at the first corner with Rinaldi up to 2nd and Gerloff in 3rd. Rea had moved from 15th place to 7th and Redding into 15th.

By Lap 2 Rea has moved up to 5th place having taken Lowes and van der Mark and passing Haslam into 4th place the following lap. Turns 9 and 10 sees Rea pass Rinaldi up into 3rd.

Razgatlioglu is pulling out a lead on 2nd place Gerloff by lap 4, van der Mark and Davies both take Haslam pushing the Honda rider down to 7th. Redding is now up into 12th place but unfortunately on the next lap we see him slow and pull over at the side with what looks like mechanical issues. Rea just needs to finish the race now in a points position to become world champion.

Van der Mark is hot on the heels of Rea but lap 8 sees van der Mark go down into the gravel at turn 7 and out of the race. Rea takes Gerloff on lap 9 and now has his sights firmly set on the leader. Haslam takes Lowes on the inside closely followed by Bautista and Davies passes Gerloff and starts to chase down Rea.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu winner of Race One Estoril, WSBK 2020, Chaz Davis second, and Garrett Gerloff Third. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

The start of lap 12 sees Davies pass Rea up into 2nd place and a few corners later Rea runs wide allowing Gerloff to slide past on the inside. Lap 14, Razgatlioglu has a 4.3 second lead over Davies in 2nd place and at Turn 1 Rea takes 3rd place back from Gerloff but Gerloff is not giving up and is glued to Rea’s rear and the following lap takes the place back.

On lap 17 Haslam takes Lowes at Turn 1 but a few corners later runs wide allowing Lowes to take the place back. Razgatlioglu has the race under control and is riding a superb race. Bautista goes down and into the gravel at Turn 6 on the following lap thus putting an early end to his race for the 5th time this year.

We see Haslam and Lowes switch places on the next two laps in their fight for 5th place but it is Razgatlioglu who is the comfortable winner today with over a 4 second lead ahead of 2nd place Davies, Gerloff in 3rd and Rea in 4th.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has now secured his 6th consecutive WorldSBK World Title and is a very deserved Champion indeed.

Race Two

After a brilliant race one, Race 2 is set to be as nail biting too and with 21 laps to go the starting grid looks like this:

Row 1 : Razgatlioglu : Gerloff : van der Mark Row 2 : Davies : Rea : Redding

Row 3 : Bautista : Haslam : Rinaldi Row 4 : Lowes : Fores : Sykes

Row 5 : Folgar : Baz : Caricasulo Row 6 : Laverty : Mercadi : Ferrari

Row 7 : Morais : Takahashi : Granado Row 8 : Cresson

A fantastic start by Razgatlioglu who is first into Turn 1 with Davies up into 2nd and van der Mark in 3rd. 4th place Rea makes contact with van der Mark going into Turn 10 but both riders manage to keep hold of their bikes. By the end of the lap Davies has taken the lead from Razgatlioglu.

Lowes is on the heels of van der Mark on the following lap and Redding is looking to get past Rea. At Turn 4 on lap 3, 3rd place Gerloff goes into the gravel at Turn 4 putting an early end to his race.

By lap 7 Davies is pulling out a comfortable lead. Rea is now closing down Razgatlioglu and lap 8 sees Rea take the place on the start/finish line only for Razgatlioglu to take it back again. Lap 9 we see Rea repeat the overtake on the start/finish line but going into Turn 1 he loses it going up the inside of Razgatlioglu and sliding across the track. Rea manages to rejoin the race but is now in 16th place.

Van der Mark is up into 4th place by lap 10 with Lowes 5th. Bautista and his teammate, Haslam, are fighting for 6th position. Lap 13 is unlucky for Baz and Folgar who both clearly have mechanical issues and are both slowing down and then pull off the track.

Redding is reducing the gap on Razgatlioglu and Turn 7 on lap 14 Lowes goes into the gravel, he tries to rejoin the race but is unable to. What is this going to mean for the manufacturers championship now that both Rea and Lowes are out of the race? Fores has to finish the race in order for Kawasaki to win.

Lap 17 sees Redding take 2nd place from Razgatlioglu, Razgatlioglu is in fighting form and nearly gets the place back but in the end is unable to. With two laps to go, Ducati are 1st and 2nd and the battle for 6th place is hotting up between Rinaldi, Haslam, Fores and Caricasulo.

Chaz Davis, Winner of Race Two, Scott Redding second and Toprak Razgatlıoğlu third at the 2020 Estoril WSBK round. Image courtesy of Ducati

The final lap finally comes and Davies has a 3 second lead over 2nd place Redding and he takes a very comfortable and well deserved win.

Kawasaki win the manufacturers title over Ducati by 1 point. An extremely close and well fought championship battle.

Another brilliant race and a fantastic final weekend of racing to end the 2020 WorldSBK Championship.

Standings

The Driver’s / Team Standings at the end of Round 8 at Estoril on the 17/18 October looked like this:

Pos

Rider

Points

Pos

Team

Points

1

Jonathan Rea

360

1

Kawasaki

392

2

Scott Redding

305

2

Ducati

391

3

Chaz Davies

273

3

Yamaha

330

4

Toprak Razgatlioglu

228

4

Honda

166

5

Michael van der Mark

223

5

BMW

101

6

Alex Lowes

189

6

Aprilia

4

7

Michael Ruben Rinaldi

186

8

Loris Baz

142

9

Alvaro Bautista

113

10

Leon Haslam

113

11

Garrett Gerloff

103

12

Tom Sykes

88

13

Xavi Fores

61

14

Federico Caricasulo

58

15

Eugene Laverty

55

16

Leandro Mercado

24

17

Marco Melandri

14

18

Jonas Folgar

19

19

Sandro Cortese

14

20

Sylvain Barrier

12

21

Maximillan Scheib

11

22

Takumi Takahashi

6

23

Matteo Ferrari

5

24

Christophe Ponsson

4

25

Roman Ramos

4

26

Lorenzo Zanetti

3

27

Valentin Debise

2

28

Eric Granado

1

29

Xavier Pinsach

1

Featured Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

The WorldSBK Season Finale heads to Estoril

The end of an exciting, albeit very strange, MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season is upon us with one round left in Estoril, Portugal on the 16-18 October.

Chaz Davis at Magny-Cours, WSbK 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

Round 7 held at Magny-Cours, France on the 2-4 October proved to be full of thrills and spills with Championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) winning the Superpole Race and Race 1 on the Saturday further extending his championship lead and then Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) winning Race 2 on the Sunday bringing him back into contention for this year’s title.

The conditions were wet on the Saturday and after a tense Superpole Race it was Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who topped the charts with Jonathan Rea in third position.

Both the BMW’s riders got off to a great start in Race 1 but unfortunately at Turn 1 Laverty was taken out by a falling Sykes after being hit by Garrett Gerloff thus ending what could have been a fantastic race for the BMW riders. Gerloff was able to continue riding but crashed a few laps later thus ending his race also.

Jonathan Rea went on to win the race followed by Loris Baz in second, Alex Lowes third, Chaz Davies fourth, Scott Redding fifth and Toprak Razgatlioglu in sixth.

Race 2 saw Scott Redding fight back to claim a superb victory after an exciting race with Loris Baz claiming his second 2nd place podium of the weekend and after a nail biting duel to the end of the race, Chaz Davies claimed the last podium place just ahead of Jonathan Rea.

Redding is still in contention for the championship title but he will need to win all three races at Estoril in order to stop Jonathan Rea claiming his 6th consecutive world championship title.

With Loris Baz’s double podium, it means that he is still in with a shout of the title in the Independent Riders’ Championship. Baz is 31 points behind Michael Ruben Rinaldi and with three races to gain points from at Estoril, the title could go either way.

As we head to Estoril for what will arguably be a thrilling end to a fantastic season of racing, changes are afoot in the paddock.

After four years at PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team, Michael van der Mark is heading to the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team alongside existing rider Tom Sykes. As yet no replacement for van der Mark’s seat has been announced by the Yamaha team.

Michael van der Mark at the 2020 WSBK Magny-Cours round. Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing

There is also the potential of an independent BMW Team making it’s way onto the grid which could open up the opportunity for new riders to enter the World Superbike paddock.

Replacing Xavi Fores in the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team is Lucas Mahias who is moving from WorldSSP where he won the Championship in 2017 and finishes 2nd in this year’s championship for the Kawasaki team.

Making his debut appearance at Estoril, a circuit he has not competed at before, will be Belgian rider Loris Cresson for the (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) team riding a Kawasaki ZX-10RR. The 22 year has competed in WorldSSP for the last three years.

Make sure you set your alarms for next weekend’s racing at Estoril.

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

A close fought battle for the lead in Race 2 at Aragon

Round 5 of the WorldSBK Race 2 took place on Sunday 6th September from MotorLand Aragon with Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) in pole position followed by the reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and then Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) taking the last place on the front row of the grid.

The starting grid for Race 2 looked like this:

Row 1 : Redding : Rea : Rinaldi Row 2 : Bautista : Davies : Lowes

Row 3 : Razgatlioglu : Haslam : Sykes Row 4 : Baz : Caricasulo : van der Mark

Row 5 : Scheib : Gerloff : Fores Row 6 : Laverty : Melandri : Ramos

Row 7 : Barrier : Ferrari : Takahashi

With 18 laps of racing, Race 2 gets underway with Rea getting off to a great start and is first into Turn 1 followed by Redding, Rinaldi, Bautista, Davies and Razgatlioglu. Lowes has dropped from 6th to 9th, Redding surprises Rea on the inside and takes him. Rea is looking to get the place back but cannot get the move on Redding. Rinaldi is now homing in on Rea.

Scott Redding and Jonathan Rea at Teruel WorldSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

Sykes retires on lap 2 and the following lap sees Haslam pass Razgatlioglu swiftly followed by Lowes who has now dropped two places. Scheib crashes at Turn 15 on lap 4 putting an early end to his race and Baz has dropped five places to 15th. Redding puts in the fastest lap but Rea is hot on his heels.

Lap 5 sees Bautista go down at Turn 15 and although he has managed to rejoin the track, he is now at the back of the grid. There is less than 3/10ths of second between Redding, Rea and Rinaldi and going into Turn 7 Rea slips up the inside of Redding and they are neck and neck going round the corner, Rea pulls ahead slightly but Redding pulls the lead back and manages to hold on to 1st place.

Whilst Redding and Rea are jostling, Rinaldi takes advantage and pulls down the inside of Rea up into 2nd and then continues up on the inside of Redding into Turn 12 to take the lead. Rea tries to follow Rinaldi through but doesn’t make it but then on the last corner going into lap 6, Rea passes Redding. Redding has lost 2 places in one lap. Haslam has moved up into 5th position followed by Lowes who are both putting pressure on Davies for 4th place.

Lap 9 sees a one second gap between Rinaldi and Rea with Redding dropping back slightly on the front runners. Rea closes the gap on Rinaldi on the corners but the Ducati of Rinaldi has the speed on the straights.

Lowes is hot on the heels of Haslam, van der Mark has moved up into 7th and Barrier crashes out. Rea is glued to the tail of Rinaldi but he is not backing off and is managing to hold off the reigning World Champion, defending his position perfectly.

By lap 13, Redding is just over a second behind Rea, Rea is not giving up on trying to gain first position but can Rinaldi hold him off for the remaining laps? Turn 14 sees Davies go down and out of the race with the fight for 4th position, now between Haslam, Lowes, van der Mark and Razgatlioglu.

Redding has closed the gap to just under a second on Rea by the following lap but the fight between Rinaldi and Rea continues with Rea continually having a look to see if he can make his move on Rinaldi. Going into turn 5, Rea goes down the inside of Rinaldi but then by turns 6 and 7 Rinaldi is back in front again. Rea has a huge wobble and gets totally out of shape but somehow manages to save the bike and the place but he’s now got to make up the gap between him and Rinaldi again.

On turns 6 and 7 on the following lap, Rea goes down the inside of Rinaldi again and this time he makes the pass stick and by the end of the lap has pulled out a .3 second gap. Haslam is holding off Lowes in the fight for 4th position and by the last lap the gap is now .6 seconds between Rea and Rinaldi.

Rea is looking good for the win and he passes the chequered flag first for his 96th WorldSBK win in such a closely fought battle followed by Rinaldi and Redding.

Rea now has a 36 point lead over Redding in the Championship.

The next race is at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain on the 18-20 September.

BK

The Driver’s / Team Standings so far at the end of Round 5 at MotorLand Aragon on the 5/6 September August looked like this:

Pos

Rider

Points

Pos

Team

Points

1

Jonathan Rea

243

1

Kawasaki

269

2

Scott Redding

207

2

Ducati

245

3

Toprak Razgatlioglu

147

3

Yamaha

185

4

Chaz Davies

141

4

Honda

116

5

Michael van der Mark

133

5

BMW

66

6

Michael Ruben Rinaldi

131

6

Aprilia

4

7

Alex Lowes

127

8

Alvaro Bautista

83

9

Loris Baz

76

10

Leon Haslam

75

11

Tom Sykes

58

12

Garrett Gerloff

39

13

Federico Caricasulo

36

14

Xavi Fores

33

15

Eugene Laverty

31

16

Marco Melandri

23

17

Sandro Cortese

14

18

Leandro Mercado

12

19

Maximillan Scheib

11

20

Sylvain Barrier

5

21

Christophe Ponsson

4

22

Roman Ramos

4

23

Matteo Ferrari

4

24

Takumi Takahashi

2

 

 

An incredible win for Rinaldi and Ducati Team Go Eleven

Round 5 of the WorldSBK Superpole and Race 1 took place on Saturday from MotorLand Aragon with the reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) taking back to back pole positions at Aragon and beating his own lap record in the process. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) had his best ever WorldSBK Superpole race by securing 2nd on the grid followed by Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) in third position.

The starting grid for Race 1 looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Rinaldi : Redding  Row 2: Haslam : Bautista : Sykes

Row 3 : Lowes : Davies : Razgatlioglu  Row 4 : van der Mark : Caricasulo : Baz

Row 5 : Fores : Gerloff : Scheib  Row 6 : Ramos : Melandri : Laverty

Row 7 : Takahashi : Ferrari : Barrier

With 18 laps of racing, Race 1 got underway with Rea getting off to a great start and is in the lead by Turn 1 followed by Redding and Rinaldi. Fores runs wide at Turn 2 and rejoins the grid in last place, Rinaldi, who is running the soft tyre, passes Redding going out of Turn 2 and Razgatlioglu has dropped from 4th to 7th place.

Just as Rea and Rinaldi are at the end of lap 1, Rinaldi makes a move on Rea on the inside and passes him, taking the lead into lap 2. Rea is on Rinaldi’s tail looking to get past but Rinaldi is not letting go of that place. Redding meanwhile is now on the tail of Rea and is waiting for the opportunity to pass. Barrier crashes out putting an abrupt end to his now very short race.

Scott Redding at Teruel round 2020 WSBK. Image courtesy of Ducati

By lap 3, Rinaldi has a half second gap on Rea, Bautista takes Razgatlioglu in a very nice move on the inside and Scheib crashes at Turn 3 coming up the hill and is out of the race. Davies is next up to attack Razgatlioglu and he goes cleanly up on the outside, Razgatlioglu is looking to get back past but so far he is not able to and Davies is holding the place.

Lowes, who has not been well all week, is all over Haslam in 8th place on lap 4 and is looking for a chance to get past and manages to do so on the following lap. This is the first race for Matteo Ferrari on the Ducati who has just passed Melandri up into 16th place.

By lap 6 the gap between Rinaldi and Rea is now 2 seconds, Redding runs wide and Bautista who is right up with him looks for a chance to get past but Redding manages to hold Bautista back but as we come out of Turn 4 on the following lap, Redding loses it and goes down sliding into the gravel and out of the race.

Rinaldi has now pulled out a lead of 4.1 seconds on Rea coming into lap 9 and the battle for 11th place is heating up between Gerloff and Baz. Lowes runs wide at Turn 1 just at the start of lap 10 and is now down in 10th place.

Bautista is closing in on Rea and the battle for 7th is between Sykes and Haslam, Lowes has passed Caricusulo into 9th but then Sykes runs wide allowing Haslam, Lowes and Caricusulo to go through and dropping from 7th to 10th place in a few short moments.

Lap 13 sees Lowes pass Haslam in a very smooth move up the inside and into 7th spot. The following lap Bautista passes Davies up into 3rd position, Davies is looking to get the place back but can’t manage it but then at Turn 14, Bautista goes down and out of the race. Judging by his body language, that is one very unhappy Bautista, his second retirement of the year having retired from Race 1 last weekend at Aragon too!

Going into lap 15, Rinaldi’s lead increases to 6.9 seconds on Rea and by lap 18 Rinaldi, Rea and Davies are all riding their own races and have a good lead against the rest of the pack. They just need to keep it steady and not make any mistakes for the next couple of laps. Lowes is in 6th position followed by Haslam and Caricusulo who are hot on his heels.

The chequered flag sees 24 year old Rinaldi first past the line making him the 78th different winner in the WorldSBK Championship. Rinaldi, riding for Ducati Team GOELEVEN, has secured the first independent team victory since 2012. Rea follows through in 2nd place followed by Davies in 3rd.

What an incredible win for Rinaldi and Ducati Team GOELEVEN, you can see his obvious elation at his victory and his team go wild in the pits.

BK

Rea rides to victory in Aragon despite pressure from Davies

Day 2 of Round 4 of the WorldSBK Superpole and Race 2 took place on Sunday from MotorLand Aragon with the reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) continuing his streak of victories in the Superpole races for this 2020 season followed by Championship leader Scott Redding on the (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) making up the rest of the front row.

The starting grid for Race 2 looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Redding : van der Mark Row 2: Bautista : Davies : Lowes

Row 3 : Raz : Rinaldi : Baz Row 4 : Haslam : Gerloff : Scheib

Row 5 : Fores : Sykes : Caricasulo Row 6 : Ponsson : Laverty : Melandri

Row 7 : Barrier : Ramos : Takahashi Row 8 : Gabellini

With 18 laps of racing, Race 2 gets underway with Redding getting a great start off the line but by Turn 1, Rea sweeps back round the outside to take 1st position with van der Mark keeping the third position he started with on the grid.

It’s all change further down the pack by the second lap with Davies, who started in 5th down to 6th, Razgatlioglu up to 5th and Haslam up to 8th having started in 10th place. Lowes has had a terrible start and is down in 12th having started 6th on the grid. Van der Mark is having a peek round the side of Redding but didn’t quite have the pace to get past but then Redding runs wide and van der Mark gets through, with Bautista is right on the tail of Redding. Redding runs wide again allowing Bautista to sweep past. Redding is running a different compound tyre to many of the other riders, perhaps this is having an effect when he is cornering and causing him to run wide.

Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding at Aragon Round 4 WSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Honda Racing

By Lap 3 Rea has put in the fastest lap and pulled out a lead. Davies is right on the tail of his teammate and goes down the inside of Redding and although Redding is looking to get the place back, Davies makes the overtake stick and is now hot on the heels of his former teammate, Bautista and at Turn 13, Davies sweeps cleanly past and then swiftly past van der Mark and is now up in 2nd place.

At Turn 15 on the following lap, Baz hits trouble and crashes out into the gravel ending his race early. Davies is now bearing down on Rea looking to close the gap and by lap 7 the gap is down to 1.3 seconds but by the end of the lap it’s back up to 1.6 seconds. Fores and Lowes have passed Haslam and they in turn now have their sights set on Razgatlioglu.

Redding, on lap 8, finds himself in a Rinaldi and van der Mark sandwich with Rinaldi looking to get past the championship leader which he does with a clean overtake. Bautista is all over Davies desperately looking for a way to get past and by Lap 10 Lowes has lost 3 places and is down in 11th.

The following lap Rinaldi goes down the inside of van der Mark into Turn 1 and cleanly takes the place, van der Mark is immediately trying to get the place back but Rinaldi makes the overtake stick. Melandri is off the bike, he tries to rejoin the race but is unable to.

The gap is now down to 1.2 seconds between Rea and Davies on Lap 12 and although Rea runs wide he manages to gather himself and the bike but the gap has just got shorter. Fores passes Baz up into 7th place and Lowes runs really wide and is now down in 12th.

Turn 16 on the following lap, Rea runs wide again allowing Davies to go down on the inside and sweep past but by Turn 4 Rea passes Davies to take the lead but Davies is all over Rea, he is not giving up and Bautista has both Davies and Rea in his sights and is waiting for one or both of them to make a mistake so he can sweep past.

The gap between Rea and Davies is now half a second. Lowes has managed to fight his way up the grid again and passes Haslam and Razgatlioglu is up into 7th.

Although Davies is doing all he can to get past Rea on the last lap, Rea is managing to hold him off and takes the chequered flag closely followed by Davies and Bautista.

A fantastic end to another great weekend of WorldSBK racing with Rea now the championship leader again.

Looking forward to Round 5 next weekend when we are back at Aragon.

BK

The Driver’s / Team Standings so far at the end of Round 4 at Aragon on the 29th/30th August looked like this:

 

Pos

Rider

Points

Pos

Team

Points

1

Jonathan Rea

189

1

Kawasaki

215

2

Scott Redding

179

2

Ducati

188

3

Toprak Razgatlioglu

124

3

Yamaha

159

4

Chaz Davies

120

4

Honda

88

5

Michael van der Mark

110

5

BMW

52

6

Alex Lowes

102

6

Aprilia

4

7

Michael Ruben Rinaldi

79

8

Alvaro Bautista

77

9

Loris Baz

64

10

Leon Haslam

51

11

Tom Sykes

51

12

Garrett Gerloff

28

13

Xavi Fores

27

14

Federico Caricasulo

22

15

Marco Melandri

19

16

Eugene Laverty

18

17

Sandro Cortese

14

18

Leandro Mercado

12

19

Maximillan Scheib

11

20

Sylvain Barrier

5

21

Christophe Ponsson

4

22

Roman Ramos

3

23

Takumi Takahashi

1

Featured image courtesy of Ducati

 

 

Redding now back in the Championship lead after Race 1

Round 4 of the WorldSBK Superpole and Race 1 took place at MotorLand Aragon with the reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) taking his 25th pole position of his WorldSBK career and smashing the lap record in doing so. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) will start second on the grid followed by Scott Redding on the (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)

The starting grid for Race 1 looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Baz : Redding Row 2: Lowes : Rinaldi : Haslam

Row 3 : Bautista : van der Mark : Davies Row 4 : Scheib : Razgatlioglu : Gerloff

Row 5 : Fores : Sykes : Mercado Row 6 : Caricasulo : Ponsson : Laverty

Row 7 : Melandri : Barrier : Ramos Row 8 : Takahashi : Gabellini

With 18 laps of racing, Race 1 gets underway with Rea not getting off to a great start as Baz is in the lead by the first corner followed by Rea, Lowes and Redding but by the end of the first lap, Baz is down into fourth having had Rea, Lowes and Redding all pass him.

Bautista, who started off in 7th has not had a good start to the race and went backwards to 12th with Razgatlioglu and Haslam swapping places.

Rea sets the fastest lap on Lap 3 but Lowes is hot on his heels closely followed by Redding who is piling on the pressure. Redding passes on the inside of Lowes, Lowes tries to duck back past but doesn’t manage to get past and now Redding has his sights on Rea.

Exiting out of Turn 3 on Lap 4, Lowes’ bike highsides throwing him off into the middle of the track but luckily he quickly gets to his feet and off the track having thankfully been missed by the other riders behind him. An unfortunate end to his race.

Davies has passed van der Mark up into 3rd which means that at the moment both Ducati’s are in for a podium position. Rea and Redding are starting to pull out a lead but meanwhile Laverty, who is in 15th place, has received a ride through penalty as his mechanics were working on his bike on the grid before the start of the race and he has now dropped to 18th place.

Scott Redding and Jonathan Rea during Race One at Aragon WSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Ducati

Gerloff hits trouble on Lap 7 and is now running in last place whilst Redding is putting pressure on Rea and on the start/finish line going into lap 8, Redding neatly pulls past Rea, Rea is looking to get straight back past but can’t match the power of the Ducati on the straights. Razgatlioglu passes Bautista up into 6th place with Baz, who started 3rd on the grid, now down in 8th place.

By Lap 11, Davies, who is still in 3rd place has pulled out a gap between 4th place and has his sights set on Rea. Rea doesn’t seem to have an answer to the speed of the Ducati on the straights but is up with Redding on the corners.

Lap 13 we see Scheib rejoin the track down in 18th place, Bautista crashes out at Turn 5 ending his race and Rinaldi is up into 5th place. The following lap Rea, so very nearly gets past Redding on a left hander but he then runs wide meaning the gap between him and Davies just got a lot shorter.

Davies passes Rea on lap 16 up into 2nd place with Rea doing all he can to get the place back but to no avail, Davies makes the overtake stick and is now catching up with his teammate and is pushing to close the gap.

The last lap sees Davies reeling Redding in but he doesn’t have enough time left to catch him, Davies must be desperately hoping Redding will make a mistake but Redding keeps his cool and passes the chequered flag first closely followed by Davies and Rea in 3rd place.

A fantastic top two finish for Ducati and Redding is now at the top of the Championship leaderboard.

What will Race 2 on sunday, bring us? I can’t wait to find out.

BK

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

Thrilling Climax to WSBK Racing in Portimao

If Saturday’s Superpole and Race 1 from the Algarve International Circuit, Portimão was edge of the seat racing, what would Sunday’s racing hold in store for us? The reigning Champion, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a commanding lead from start to finish in both the Superpole and Race 1 – are we going to see a repeat performance?

An update on Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) following his crash at the end of Race 1: Cortese underwent surgery for a fractured vertebra and has also suffered a fracture of the right tibial bone, four fractured ribs and a suspected fracture of the right ankle. Wishing Cortese a speedy recovery.

Superpole got underway and again it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who claimed victory to start from pole position in Race 2 with Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) in second place despite the early pressure he put in on Rea having passed Rea into Turn 1 but then running wide allowing Rea to pass back into 1st and build a gap. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) finished the top 3 with his first podium since 2014.

Despite an early challenge from Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished 4th, Redding 5th and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in an impressive 6th place.

Michael van der Mark at Portimão WSBK 2020. Image courtesy of Yamaha.

In 7th place Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) managed to finish four seconds ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) and Leon Haslam (Team HRC) who were battling for 8th position.

Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had an incident at the Turn 5 hairpin on Lap 2 resulting in both riders managing to continue with the race but having fallen down the order in so doing and unfortunately Davies subsequently retiring from the race a few laps later.

With a few laps remaining at Turn 3 we saw Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) and Marco Melandri (Barni Racing Team) run off the track but fortunately for both riders they were able to continue with Superpole.

After an eventful session the starting grid looked like this:

Row 1 : Rea : Razgatlioglu : Baz  Row 2: Lowes : Redding : Sykes

Row 3 : van der Mark : Rinaldi : Haslam  Row 4 : Gerloff : Bautista : Caricasulo

Row 5 : Fores : Mercado : Melandri  Row 6 : Barrier : Ponsson : Gabellini

Row 7 : Takahashi : Laverty : Scheib  Row 8 : Davies

With 20 laps of racing, Race 2 gets underway with Rea just managing to stay ahead of Razgatlioglu going into the first corner, Redding goes up into 3rd and Baz is down to 4th. At Turn 5 Laverty goes down with his bike ending up in the gravel, Haslam goes up into 7th and on the last corner at Turn 14, Baz suffers a high speed off and goes rolling into the gravel thus bringing his race to an early end.

Redding is now up into 2nd with Rea in 3rd and Lowes passes van der Mark up into 4th. By Lap 3 Rea puts in fastest lap and is just starting to pull out a bit of a gap ahead of Redding who has dropped half a second and is now feeling the heat from Razgatlioglu who is closing in. Van der Mark is hot on the heels of Lowes and Davies is looking to get past Haslam who is causing a bottleneck with Rinaldi and Fores closing in.

Razgatlioglu goes sliding into Turn 5 on Lap 6, he manages to recover the bike and rejoin the track in 14th place and now has a lot of work to do to fight his way back up the field. Turn 5 strikes again when Lowes goes down too, again he manages to rejoin the track but only to make his way to the pits and an early end to his race.

The gap between Rea and third place van der Mark is 3 seconds. Razgatlioglu is looking to get past Mercado to take 12th position and makes his move at the end of the start/finish straight into Turn 1 with a late braking move slipping up on the inside.

Scott Redding at Portimao 2020 WSbK Image courtesy of Ducati

On Lap 11 Van der Mark is closing in on Redding and Turn 5 strikes again when Haslam goes down rejoining the track back down in 13th. Bautista is challenging Rinaldi for 5th position and successfully passes and is now looking to close in on Davies who is in 4th place

Redding is starting to look like he is struggling for pace as van der Mark is all over him and then at Turn 5 Redding runs wide allowing van der Mark to cut through on the inside and claim 2nd place but then loses ground, runs wide at the next corner allowing Redding to pass by on the inside, van der Mark tries to cut back through but doesn’t make it.

By lap 14 Rea has stretched the gap to 4 seconds ahead of Redding with van der Mark hot on his heels determined to gain 2nd place back again.

Gerloff runs wide in Turn 2 on Lap 15 onto the kerb and comes back onto the track and into Fores. Fores goes down and out but Gerloff manages to keep the bike upright going through the gravel to rejoin the track in 11th place.

Van der Mark is not giving up and is trying at every available opportunity to get that 2nd place with Rea stretching his lead to a comfortable 5 seconds.

On the penultimate lap, Haslam passes Melandri up into 12th position with Laverty having a look too. Razgatlioglu has made his way up into 9th and as Caricasulo runs wide, manages to make up another place. The battle for 2nd place is so close, van der Mark is not giving up but Redding is successfully defending his position to the finish line. Rea takes a comfortable win and is now 4 points ahead of Redding in the Championship.

An absolutely thrilling nail biting race and a terrific end to a great weekend of WorldSBK racing.

Round 4 takes places at MotorLand Aragon, Teruel, Spain on the 28th to 30th August.

BK

The Driver’s/Team Standings so far at the end of Round 3 look like this:

Riders Standings Team Standings
Pos Rider Points Pos Team Points
1 Jonathan Rea 136 1 Kawasaki 162
2 Scott Redding 132 2 Ducati 134
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu 103 3 Yamaha 131
4 Alex Lowes 91 4 Honda 60
5 Michael van der Mark 82 5 BMW 48
6 Chaz Davies 75 6 Aprilia 4
7 Alvaro Bautista 55
8 Loris Baz 54
9 Michael Ruben Rinaldi 53
10 Tom Sykes 47
11 Leon Haslam 36
12 Garrett Gerloff 22
13 Marco Melandri 17
14 Eugene Laverty 16
15 Sandro Cortese 14
16 Xavi Fores 14
17 Federico Caricasulo 12
18 Maximillan Scheib 10
19 Leandro Mercado 7
20 Christophe Ponsson 4
21 Sylvain Barrier 1

Featured image courtesy of Ducati