Jonathan Rea has revealed that his first vacations were at racetracks rather than beaches, which ignited his love for motorbikes.
The six-time Superbike World Champion will continue his quest for a record seventh home title as the World Superbike Championship (WSBK) returns to Donnington Park for the first time in three years this weekend.
Rea is currently second in the standings, behind Alvaro Bautista by 36 points in a dramatic season, with defending champion Toprak Razgatlioglu a further 43 points in third.
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“My first vacation was not at the beach. They were at the racetracks. I was dragged in to watch my dad’s race and it was contagious. So, very soon after, I wanted to ride a motorcycle.
“When I started road racing in 2003, it actually came very naturally. I loved chasing the perfect lap.
“Step by step, my career improved. I was in the world championship in five years and I’ve been here since then, so it’s been a great journey.
Rea made his WSBK debut in late 2008 and has shown no signs of slowing down 14 years later.
His experience at the front of the pack is unrivaled and he can’t wait to put on the show again, having scored the hat-trick at Donnington Park in 2019.
“It’s really hard to describe what we do,” Rea explained. “From the outside, it sometimes looks like a PlayStation game.
“The riders sit on a motorcycle and we turn the handlebars, but in reality we’re riding a 220+ horsepower, 170kg motorcycle accelerating that from 50-60mph on the slowest corner to 210mph on the straight. the fastest.
“In the search for the perfect lap, every lap in tenths of a second is really difficult. It’s a real athlete’s sport. Everyone here in the world championship is incredibly fit.
“It really is man and machine. the rider has such a big influence on the bike, but the bike also needs to run perfectly.
Rea is the most successful driver in the history of the championship with the most titles, victories, fastest laps and podiums.
Despite breaking several records, Rea’s motivation is still high and the 35-year-old admits it’s hard to stay at the top of the sport and constantly stand on the top step of the podium.
“I think I was the only three-time winner,” Rea said. “Then I won it six times in a row. I know how hard it is to win. It doesn’t get easier with more and more competition on the grid.
“Winning a title is tough, but winning again is even tougher. So it’s a big challenge we have ahead of us that I’m really excited about.
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