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SBK, Lavilla: "Rea is not charismatic, but he is the best"

The head of SBK was wrong-footed by Eurosport while speaking about Johnny's domination: "We won't change things so that he cannot win, we just want fair races"

SBK: Lavilla: "Rea is not charismatic, but he is the best"

When there is one rider who is clearly dominating in a championship, two situations can arise. This rider could become a hero for the fans, taking on the guise of an unbeatable legend, who is welcomed with open arms at every track around the world. Or there is another scenario, one that is perhaps closer to the current situation in SBK, where said rider, clearly superior to his rivals on track, becomes a scapegoat, his talent called into question.

Jonathan Rea is just nine points from achieving his fourth consecutive SBK title on board the Kawasaki. An incredibly effective pairing, able to put a stop to any rivals and accumulate double wins, just as they did at Portimao. The inverted grid has made no difference, neither has limiting the engine revs in order to try and have a more level playing field in 2018. The Rea - Kawasaki domination shows no signs of waning.

The fact is that the fans have not fallen in love with Rea's achievements, they are not adoring and often the cameras are forced to focus on the fight for fifth or sixth place due to a lack of any kind of battle for first.

Gregorio Lavilla spoke about this during a short interview with Eurosport journalist Charlie Hiscott, the latter posing a question that took the SBK boss unawares. Asked whether there was a desire to change things for the future, Lavilla's reply was cutting.

"This is a funny question because in some other championships, when you have someone who is really the best, everyone tries to evaluate these things. Unfortunately - continued Lavilla - we have the best rider, but perhaps not the most charismatic rider and this might lead to a lack of public interest".

A rather eloquent snapshot, but one that does not promise any imminent change, as Lavilla himself underlines.

"We won't do anything to change this, we just try to have fair races to ensure the best rider wins. If this is always the same rider, we can only congratulate him".


In the meantime, Superbike is sinking. And it's clearly not Jonathan Rea's fault. In Italy, it has all but disappeared from mainstream media. The future is far from rosy. Radical changes are needed, as well as media support and incentives. Something that previous organisers Flammini did; they are also to thank for rules such as the single tyre supply, brought in before it was even seen in F.1.  Clearly the current organiser is not interested.





Translated by Heather Watson

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