Thinking of the title “ridiculous”, says Jonathan Rea before the penultimate round of the World Superbike in Indonesia

The six-time champion leads Alvaro Bautista by 98 points with six races to go and says it is “ridiculous” to be considering winning a seventh world crown this year before the penultimate round.

He has won five times this season, with his last wins coming at Estoril in Portugal in May – a 21-race winless drought.

The 35-year-old’s longest winless streak in World Superbike was 33 races during the 2012-13 seasons when Rea rode for Ten Kate Honda.

Jonathan Rea is third in the Superbike World Championship heading into the penultimate round of the season this weekend at Mandalika in Indonesia.

He looked the likeliest winner of the Superpole race at the previous round in San Juan, Argentina, but an error dropped Rea to third place behind defending champion Toprak Razgatlioglu and Bautista.

Last year Rea – who has won 117 World Superbike races since making his debut in 2008 – claimed a double as the street circuit of Mandalika hosted a round of the championship for the first time.

The Ulster rider will now hope to end his winless streak and end the dominance of Bautista and Razgatlioglu, who have won all 21 races between them since Rea’s last triumph in Portugal.

“We will try to bring the positive vibes here this year from last year,” Rea said.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) leads Scott Redding ( Ducati) to Mandalika in Indonesia in 2021, where Rea won both races.

“We have improved since last year, the problem is that everyone has also improved.

“We have to see where we are tomorrow, with the track being resurfaced. Friday will be about understanding the conditions, getting laps and cleaning the track, not making big setup calls.

“I’m empty-headed about any goal this weekend – thinking about the championship is a bit ridiculous now; Alvaro did an amazing job.

“I’m going to focus on myself and I’m going to give my best this weekend.”

The Ducati rider Bautista has his first chance to win the title in the first race on Saturday (0530 GMT), which will be the 900th World Superbike race since the championship was first held in 1988.

The Spanish rider, who is 82 points ahead of Pata Yamaha’s Razgatliolgu – with Rea 16 points further back in third – can become champion if he leads Razgatlioglu by 17 points. Rea will be mathematically out of the title race if he finishes behind Bautista.

The 2006 125cc Grand Prix world champion, Bautista says he doesn’t feel nervous heading into the penultimate race weekend of the season.

“Honestly, I don’t feel nervous,” the 37-year-old said.

“I’m happy to be back here. I love the layout of the track and with the fans, they love the racing.

“It will be our first time with Ducati, so we have a lot of work to do, especially on Friday for the reference, the settings and the gearing.

“I don’t have time to think about the championship or the match point.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s here or in Australia, the important thing is that we get it.”

Free practice will start from 02:00 GMT on Friday with Superpole qualifying at 02:40 GMT on Saturday.

Saturday’s first race is scheduled for 05:30 GMT with Sunday’s Superpole race at 02:30 GMT and the second race (05:30 GMT).

About Todd Wurtsbach

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