REA THE WSB GOAT
Four-time WSB champ Jonathan Rea reveals all in new autobiography
It’s been an incredible four years for Jonathan Rea. Since signing for Kawasaki at the end of 2014, he’s won 53 of his 100 races on the ZX-10RR, secured four consecutive world titles and has statistically become the most successful racer in WSB history, even eclipsing legends such as Troy Bayliss and Carl Fogarty.
Now having bagged title number four last time out at Magny Cours, the Northern Irishman, who is showing absolutely no signs of slowing up and will race with Kawasaki until the end of 2020 at least, has released his book; Dream, Believe, Achieve.
It covers his career from his first ever ride, his emergence as one of the UK’s hottest racing talents through to his current domination of the World Superbikes series. It also gives an insight into some of the tragedy and difficult times he’s been through, plus a glimpse into his incredible family and wider support network. Speaking to MCN, he said: “It felt right to create the book now. I had no idea about this year and last year felt like the peak of my career. If I wanted to just write a book about my career achievements then it would have been a really boring read and I had a good look at myself when I was doing it. It is too easy for people to see you on the top of the podium and think that life is all rosy. I wanted to balance the last four years with the real life story.”
Rea now heads into the penultimate round of the WSB season at the new Villicum circuit in Argentina where he looks to build on his tally of eight consecutive race wins.
On close friend and rival Craig Jones who was killed at Brands Hatch…
Jonesy was one of the biggest characters in the paddock, a popular joker who loved to talk a load of crap. While I lived with him, he signed a pretty big contract to ride for Carl Fogarty’s Foggy Petronas team in WSB. The bike wasn’t at all competitive, but Jonesy didn’t care, he just laughed because he was about the money and extracting fun and enjoyment. I learned a huge amount from him about not taking life too seriously and finding time to enjoy opportunities when they come your way.
And the Brands Hatch crash. It shouldn’t have been bad, but he was hit by a bike and knocked unconscious. To this day I haven’t watched the crash. I can just remember hanging around all evening waiting for Karen (Craig’s partner) to give us some news. Eventually, my team took me aside and told me Jonesy had succumbed to his injuries. I just went numb. We had spent the previous weeks having the best fun, and now he wasn’t there. None of it made any sense.
On turning down Ducati to stay with Honda
Finally, I agreed to join Ducati. I just had to tell Ronald ten Kate.
I said, ‘Ronald, it’s been an amazing adventure coming to the world championships with you guys, but it’s time for me to move on. I’ve reached an agreement with Ducati.’
In all my years with Ten Kate Honda, there was never any heartto-heart with Ronald. We would have a beer, but he was never aware that I craved that kind of reassurance. Then suddenly, Ronald started talking to me like a human being. He was saying, ‘Jonathan, you’ve done such an incredible job these last few years.’ I told him I’d lost faith in the project, but he went on, ‘this team needs you and we’ve got a plan.’ Suddenly, I was beginning to feel valued. My head was telling me to leave, but my heart was beginning to say ‘stay’. I started getting emotional and said, ‘Well, maybe we could give it one more season.’ ‘YES, YES!’ Ronald screamed. ‘We’ll put the things you need in place and give it one more go!’
MotoGP chance with HRC
In one of our chats, Livio Suppo (HRC boss) told me Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Honda team owner) could be interested in me for his 2015 LCR Honda team. I met him at Silverstone and he said the LCR door was closed, then tried to talk me into riding one of the new Open Class bikes saying it was ‘such a great opportunity’. At that time in MotoGP, the CRT (Claiming Rule Team) were being phased out and Honda was building an Open Class machine, designed to make MotoGP more affordable for non-factory teams. The organisers insisted on €1 million cap to buy the Open bike, whereas leasing a full-spec RCV was around €3 million. Suppo told me that the €1 million Open Class bike could win races because of a dispensation to use softer tyres and carry more fuel.
I said, ‘Look, I want to come to MotoGP on a factory bike, but I’m happy to discuss a big salary cut.’ He looked at me as if I was a bit of dirt off his shoe and said, ‘What makes you think you deserve a factory bike?’ I just walked out, which ended any talk about me going to MotoGP with Honda.
Dream, Achieve, Believe is available online and at all good book shops priced at £20
Rea is of the most successful WSB racers of all time Rea started Kawasaki career early is in the saddle Three generationss of Rea. Jonathan