‘I want to stick it to my rivals’
Rea’s motivation is beating mouthy opponents, nnot securing a historic triple title on the bounce
The 2016 season saw Jonathan Rea become the first rider since World Superbike legend Carl Fogarty to win back-to-back crowns.
This year will see him try to better that record as he goes for a historic third title on the bounce – a feat that not even four-time champ Fogarty ever achieved. And, on the eve of the 2017 season, the hat-trick appears to be a distinct possibility for Rea and the Kawasaki Racing Team after a strong showing in pre-season testing.
“When you are from the UK and you think about WSB you think about guys like Foggy, who’s top of the list, Toseland, who won two championships and Hodgson who also won a title,” Rea said to MCN.
“I think I will be remembered as a back-to-back World Champion as there have only been four in WSB!”
Those riders are Fogarty, Fred Merkel and Doug Polen, but while the prospect of a unique three-in-a-row would be an incredible achievement for Rea, it’s not something he’s focusing on.
“Motivation for me does not come from a possible ‘threepeat’,” said Rea, with some conviction. “Motivation for me comes from beating my rivals, beating Tom, beating Chaz, Eugene and Marco Melandri.”
“It is a huge rivalry, in your head. It’s not me thinking about money or a repeat, or history books. It is these guys that I race against and the things they say that piss me off!
“That is where the motivation is, beating your rivals. Not the money, not even being world champion as I’ve done that. It’s now about trying to stick
‘It is these guys that I race against and the things they say that piss me off!’ JONATHAN REA
one over my rivals.”
It’s widely thought that the 2017 WSB season is going to be the most competitive in years, but Rea is experienced enough not to make any rash pre-season predictions.
“Nobody knows!” he exclaimed when asked. “Everyone gets so excited at this time of year and there are probably seven or eight reasons for everyone to believe things will be different, but we just have to wait and see.
“What I know is that it might not be easier to win the championship but it is certainly going to be easier inside my team with our bike because we are not trying to learn a new bike. Whether that means it is going to be easier to win races and a championship – I highly doubt that. The competition never stands still. I have been the reference point for two years and everybody has got a lot of motivation to win.” MCN says: Rea’s two-year dominance of WSB speaks for itself, but there is no doubt that the competition will be intense with his rivals more focused than ever to beat the reigning champ. Rea is a man that won on the Honda, dominated on the Kawasaki and remains at the very top of his game. He’s already lapped on par with the Motogp boys in winter testing and 2017 could be the year we find out exactly how good and how fast the Northern Irishman can really go when really pushed to the limit by his rivals.
Rea is more focused than ever as he chases a third consecutive WSB title
With very few changes for 2017, the Kawasaki squad will be fast from the off
Rea has even matched Motogp times in testing