2017 World Superbike Champion
Ahead of joining the Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015, Jonathan Rea spent seven seasons riding factory Honda CBR1000RR machinery in the Superbike World Championship.
During those seven years of WSBK competition, Rea achieved 15 victories.
These stats quickly changed in 2015 after the Northern Irishman joined the Kawasaki Racing Team. That year, Rea achieved 14 victories and his first WorldSBK title. The Rea/Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja were an unstoppable force, and his 2015 performance was repeated in 2016 when Rea claimed nine wins and a second title.
Rea has done it again in 2017. Following his race-one win at Magny-Cours World Superbike, Rea clinched his third-straight SBK title with two rounds to go. So far this season, Rea has finished on the podium at 20 of 22 races, and this includes 12 wins.
The race-one win at Magny-Cours, claimed by 16 seconds on extremely wet conditions, was also Rea’s 50th-career World SBK win.
Following race one, Jonathan Rea said “I have no words right now. I have sacrificed so much in my life, as have my parents and everyone involved in helping me get me to this level. To win it the championship the first time, the second time and then go three times in a row – I cannot compute my feelings right now.
“My thanks to all the team, every single member of the team, and everyone from Kawasaki back in Japan. Most of all I want to thank my wife and kids who sacrifice so much. To win this race was special. Winning a race to win the championship is not something I have done before, so I was important for me to do that. I also scored my 50th WorldSBK race win in WorldSBK as well.”
Rea entered Magny-Cours with 120-point advantage over teammate Tom Sykes. He was quickly up to speed Friday, and claimed the pole position before dominating the race.
He eventually finished 16.316 seconds ahead of Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Marco Melandri and 16.666 ahead of ZX-10RR teammate Tom Sykes, the 2013 WorldSBK Champion.
Rea would suffer a DNF in race two, though, after he clipped Eugene Laverty’s Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4; Laverty has just crashed, and Rea did everything to avoid any contact. Unfortmately, his boot and footpeg was damaged during the contact, forcing Rea to retire from the race.