A chaotic weekend at Donington Park further reversed the values on the track in BSB British Superbike. With three different winners in the three Sunday races, and four riders separated by just 19 points, the Brands Hatch Grand Finale looks as if it’s going to be a real thriller. However, the UK domestic championship often produces surprises and the last round was no less due to the sensational performances by Gino Rea.
The Buildbase Suzuki man proved to be one of the stars of the weekend, culminating in a fourth position in Race 2 just a few tenths from the podium. In addition to scoring his best career result in British Superbike, the 2009 European SuperStock 600 Champion also stood out in the other two races with a sixth and fifth overall.
A memorable Sunday therefore for the 31-year-old from London, demonstrating the superb current form of the bike and team, finally competitive again after several seasons full of ups and downs.
Victory in European SuperStock 600 and the move to Moto2
Having won the European Stock 600 title back in 2009 riding a Ten Kate Racing CBR 600RR, Gino Rea moved to Moto2 after a brief spell in World SuperSport 600 (two podiums and one victory) with Team Intermoto Czech.
The first to give him his big chance was an Italian: Fausto Gresini. The two-time 125cc World Champion, founder of the team of the same name, was betting a lot on the English rider. Unfortunately for him, due to various events (a season that started with a Moriwaki MD600, but then switching to a Suter MMX in the course of construction), Gino Rea was never able to show his real potential despite an amazing second place under a downpour in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
A return to World SS600
After racing in the intermediate category of the World Championship for another two seasons, with bikes not up to the challenge to compete for the top positions, in 2015 he returned to World SuperSport 600. First with CIA Landlords Insurance Honda, passing through Team GRT Racing MV Agusta and concluding with Kawasaki Go Eleven.
Three different bikes in three years, with three poor third places in 36 races and a sixth position as the best placing in the championship. The results were too mixed and certainly not worthy of initial expectations. Gino Rea definitely needed a change of scenery.
Debut in BSB
In 2018 therefore, he arrived in British Superbike, the most spectacular and hard-fought national championship on the planet. Among the ranks of the then new-born OMG Racing, "Speedy Ginox" was able to familiarize himself with the top class and with the Suzuki GSX-R 1000 R, discovering all the secrets of the "old style" tracks of the UK.
Because of an abrupt exchange of viewpoints with OMG Racing, Gino Rea remained without a ride for the first part of 2019. The turning point came at Cadwell Park when he was called up by the Bike Devil Sweda MV Agusta Team. Although the project with an ex-Reparto Corse and ex-Leon Camier F4 from 2016 was an uphill struggle, the 31-year-old from London was able to put the bike into the fight for the points zone, getting the better of riders of the calibre of Danny Kent and James Ellison .
By virtue of these performances, Dave Tyson decided to give him another chance for the current season. When 2020 started badly due to the health crisis linked to COVID-19, Bike Devil had to revise its plans by setting aside the Ducati Panigale V4R project in favour of a Kawasaki ZX-10RR. Much like the one used by Leon Haslam in 2018, the adaptation phase proved to be more difficult than expected. At the end of the first round at Donington 'National', however, came a bolt out of the blue: a consensual divorce for sponsorship reasons.
The signing with Buildbase Suzuki
It was a tough blow for both sides, but, as they say, when one door is closed, another one opens. The same thing happened to Gino Rea, who signed with Buildbase Suzuki to replace (at first) the convalescent Keith Farmer
Present from the Snetterton round, the 31-year-old first tried to dial himself in with the GSX-R 1000 again, improving from race to race, an aspect that earned him confirmation until the end of the season. Again fighting close to the top ten with the other BSB protagonists, after seeing team-mate Ryde double up at Silverstone 'National', the definitive leap in quality came in the last round at Donington Park.
While in Race 1 he finished in sixth place for having risked with the intermediate tyre at the rear in very particular conditions, in Race 2 he definitely impressed observers. Starting perfectly from the fifth slot on the grid, Gino Rea immediately got in amongst the battle for the podium. With the luxury of having led a race for the first time for a few laps, in the final stages he had to raise the white flag against Josh Brookes and the two McAMS Yamahas of O'Halloran and Mackenzie finishing in fourth position. In the last race of the day, however, he put in another good performance with fifth at the chequered flag.
A formidable weekend for Gino Rea, who proved to be by far the best Suzuki rider on the grid. The former Moto2 rider is currently experiencing a second life in the championship, after being written off too often. With the Brands Hatch finale (16-17-18 October) still to go and with five riders fighting for the title, one eye must also be kept on some possible outsiders, starting with Gino Rea himself. Having obtained his best race result, he is now on the lookout for his first podium or even better.