SBK, Rea cleans up in Superbike with four of a kind

The Northern Irish rider ties with Carl Fogarty on four title, but with a higher number of race wins, 67 to the Englishman's 59


If he carries on at this pace, Jonathan Rea is set to be the most successful yet most criticised rider in Superbike history: “is it down to him or the bike?"  His racing career, already detailed last year after he won his third title, has seen him stick with the Kawasaki of team Provec, the only team that is truly supported by the Japanese mother company in the factory-derived series.

Those who thought that changing the technical regulation in order to penalise the winner would affect the Cannibal have been proved very wrong: the Northern Irishman simply put the Akashi engineers to work, making all the right moves with the factory team. After struggling slightly early on in the season,  he has gone on to devour everything on his plate: rivals, records and wins.

An MBE, Johnny is proving - to the detriment of the show and general interest - to be the King of boredom, but is that his fault? In his shoes, anyone would like to win such an impressive number of races, 66 prior to the start of the French round.

And all those titles: arriving in France with the champagne already on ice, Rea stated that he's not interested in calculations or strategies; the number 1 rider's only goal being to reach the highest step of the podium, the best place in which to celebrate his fourth title.

He dominated in his usual style, making a rocket start (the launch control of the ZX10-RR is perfect), setting an unbeatable pace and running away with the win, his thirteenth of the season, and career number 67.

Knowing Carl Fogarty - apparently disinterested in what is going on - we know that The King is far from happy to hand over the title to his successor: if the Englishman was the master, the Northern Irishman is the pupil, displaying characteristics that are the polar opposite.

Foggy was fascinating, impulsive, spontaneous and course: he would burp in pit lane, fart in the press room. He would thrill the British crows with moves as crazy as his eyes, accompanied by the slogan: “No fear, Foggy is here”. He was involved in memorable clashes with the likes of Russell and Chili, who remember Carl with great affection. In addition, Carl's bikes (particularly for a refined test rider like Luca Cadalora) were unrideable, just as he was often out of shape, because he hated to train.

Rea is, on the contrary, reserved in both his words and movements, both in the garage and on the bike. Even when he argues with a rival, perhaps even resorting to the odd swear word, Johnny still remains composed, measured. Johnny wants the perfect setting for his Ninja and loves nothing more than to train.

How does Rea celebrate a win? The Cannibal resembles Australian Michael Doohan, who wasn't cold but modest, just like Rea today.

In celebrating four of a kind at Magny-Cours, Johnny took part in an improvised card game along with members of the Kawasaki team, his jubilation - when it finally came - more intense than anything we've seen since he won his first title in 2015.







Translated by Heather Watson

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