REA THE WSB GOAT

Four-time WSB champ Jonathan Rea re­veals all in new au­to­bi­og­ra­phy

MCN - - THE BIG READ - By Michael Guy SPORTS ED­I­TOR

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.