Racer of the Decade Nominee #4 – Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea has rewritten the record books in World Superbikes in the last few years, becoming the series’ first five-time champion this year with all his titles in succession.

Over the last five years he has been almost unbelievably consistent whilst improving year-on-year to see off the competition and keep his place at the top of the championship.

Rea began the decade as a contender in World Superbikes, piloting his Honda to race wins, but not fighting for the championship.

Each year he comfortably got the better of his teammate and outperformed his bike quite considerably. His best season with Honda was his last in 2014, when he picked up third in the championship.

His well-earned switch to Kawasaki in 2015 would prove to be a career defining move. He immediately gelled with his new bike and won his first title in dominant style, picking up 14 wins over the 26-race season and finishing 132 points clear of runner-up Chaz Davies.

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Rea aboard the Kawasaki ZX-10R in 2015

His second title didn’t come as easy but Rea kept his cool though and eventually took the the title by 51 points over Sykes. Chaz Davies finished the year with six wins in a row, which set things up nicely for 2017.

Nevertheless, as has been typical of recent years, Rea was able to step up his performance another gear and dominate once again. He scored 16 wins and scored 556 points, breaking Colin Edwards’ points record (552) from 2002.

Incredibly, Rea was able to step up his game yet again in 2018 and took his fourth consecutive title in even finer style.

Regulation changes limiting the revs of successful bikes made things harder for him at the beginning of the season, but he was quickly able to adapt and regain his advantage at the top.

He went onto win the last eleven races of the season, taking him to 17 overall, and would’ve likely beaten his points tally from 2017 had it not been for the cancellation of the final race in Qatar. He finished with 545 points.

Despite having these two incredibly dominant seasons, Rea’s fifth title this year was perhaps his most extraordinary and best yet.

Alvaro Bautista’s entrance into World Superbikes couldn’t have been better, as he won the first eleven races of the season aboard the brand-new Ducati Panigale V4 R.

Rea did not give up and was able to take ten consecutive second places and a third during that time. He managed two wins in Imola, but Bautista was 61 points ahead after race two in Spain.

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Rea at Imola in 2019

However, things soon started unraveling for Bautista after a crash in race three which was followed by more offs at Misano and Donington. Rea pounced, taking five wins from six races and snatching the championship lead.

From there he would never look back and eventually beat Bautista by a whopping 165 points after taking 14 wins and five second places from the last 19 races.

The 32-year-old will face yet more opposition in 2020, but his incredible performances over the last five years make him the undoubted favourite heading into the new decade.

If Jonathan Rea is your Racer of the Decade then make sure to vote for him on our Twitter page.

Voting is now open and will close at 10pm on Monday (Dec 23rd).

Published by James Casey

Absolute Motorsport Ltd Managing Director

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