The result of this year’s WorldSBK Championship may look like a lot like the ones that recently came before it, as Jonathan Rea has handily won the championship crown on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR.
But, the road to get here, and the road to winning five World Championships in a row, has been unlike no other.
At the beginning of the season, it seemed like Alvaro Bautista would run away with the title on his unstoppable Ducati Panigale V4 R. Despite this, Rea persevered, and his steady results kept him mathematically in the hunt.
Then it happened – in just a few races Bautista’s complete collapse saw the Spaniard go from controlling the WorldSBK Championship leaderboard with a 61 point lead to being behind by 81 points, this was now his title to lose. Suddenly, Rea’s consistency and Kawasaki’s “never say die” attitude paid off in spades.
Now coming off the Magny-Cours round, and his 28 podium-finishes, Jonathan Rea is the 2019 World Superbike Champion. To add even greater honor to the accomplishment, this season’s result makes Jonathan Rea the first five-time WorldSBK Champion – earning those titles in a row, no less.
“I can’t quite believe it. It has been an incredible year so far, and a year I have never given up, I’ve kept believing in myself, believing in my bike, believing in my crew and believing in my effort,” said a victorious Jonathan Rea at Magny-Cours.
“After the fourth race, it was so tough to keep turning up when you know that he is going to be so difficult to win, but in the mid-season, we turn things around.
“I don’t have so many words right now, because I did not expect this today. I had no idea what was going to happen. If I would win today, what was the point situation, but I knew when I got the sign that Bautista was out that I could mathematically have the chance. And I did it!”
“Thanks to all my team, all my family and all the people who have been working with me, Kawasaki, the sponsors, all the people that made this possible. It’s a huge team effort, and I couldn’t be here without them.”
With still two more rounds to go in the 2019 WorldSBK season, the rounds at Argentina and Qatar will be like victory laps for Rea and Kawasaki. Once again with the target on his back, Rea will be the benchmark for next year.
What should be intimidating for those who plan to challenge him in 2020 though is that it can now be easily argued that Rea is the best Superbike rider of all time, and there is no sign yet of his dominance letting up.