He could have waited two weeks. Instead, Johnny Rea preferred not to waste time. At Magny-Cours, the Cannibal won his fifth world title, entering Superbike history. No one has ever won so many derivatives as he has.
A party that started just before 3:00 pm, when the Kawasaki rider crossed the finish line at Magny-Cours, while Bautista was taken down and watched the race from his garage.
"To tell you the truth, I didn't expect to win the World Championship here in France," he began. "Among other things, after the sprint race, I didn't even pay attention to what the combinations in my favor would have been. I was focused on Race 2, and I was a bit worried because of what happened Saturday with lots of overtaking and contacts at the beginning. My goal was to stay away from trouble."
In the end, however, there were no major problems, partly because Toprak took Alvaro down.
“They told me about Alvaro from the pit box but, at that moment, I didn't remember the combinations to bring home the title. I was just focused on my race. Then, once I crossed the finish line, I realized I was a world champion. It was a good feeling, even though I thought it could have happened in Argentina ."
The joy on Rea's face tells it all.
"Your first World Championship is always the best, special, since it's the first. Besides that, this title is special. As you well know, it was a season that started uphill, sine I had to come up against a very strong rider and a competitive bike. I was really distraught, and people were starting to forget us, but sooner or later we knew our chance would come."
The opportunity was called Imola.
"That victory was important because it made us realize that we were on the right path. I think that was a turning point, and I was very happy. In fact, then other achievements followed."
Bautista was the one who threw a wrench in Rea's wheels but, in the end, he was defeated.
"I think the secret to our title was that of not giving up, especially when things went wrong. Rather than creating tension and bad moods within the team, blaming ourselves and each other, we stuck together and managed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I actually think this 2019 represents a message for all those who battle it out every day in life and maybe think they can't get the result they desired"
One of Johnny's secrets has undoubtedly been that of questioning himself.
"In this 2019, I learned a lot, and I think I grew even more, just like my team. I dreamt of winning the World Championship ever since I was a child, and being here today for the fifth time is special."
There was still some drama behind the scenes this season and also difficult moments.
"Jerez was undoubtedly a complicated circuit, but I wanted to react even then. When we got up Saturday morning at Donington, Guim Roda told me: "This is a good opportunity to get 25 points and, in the end, I was able to win."
Rea's mind is now projected towards the future.
"Kawasaki was considered the killer bike last winter, then we saw a really competitive Ducati. We'll obviously have to continue working to grow and develop, in order to continue along this great wake. Razgatlioglu? He's certainly a rider with the credentials to win the World Championship, but I hope as late as possible," he said jokingly.