Two-time and reigning World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea has pretty much been synonymous with domination since joining the Kawasaki Racing Team.
Between the whole of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Rea has won twenty-three of the fifty-two races held for a win rate of just under 45%. Rea has won nearly half of the last two season’s races. And here’s an even more outstanding statistic: Of the fifty-two races in the past two seasons, Rea has only finished off the podium six times, for a podium success rate of 88%. This is made even more remarkable by the fact that Rea and his crew had a recurring problem with the redesigned ZX10R for the 2016 season, Rea’s bike visibly suffering from transmission issues for at least a couple of rounds during his title defense campaign last year.
Of course, everyone who follows World Superbikes as much as I do already knows all this, but I am pointing it out for a reason. Because despite having two of his most stellar seasons since joining the class nearly a decade ago, somehow Rea and his crew have found a way to have an even better start to this year’s championship than they have in their last two championship-winning campaigns. By taking the double win at the previous round in Thailand, Rea is now four-for-four by winning both races in the first two rounds of the season, a feat he hasn’t been able to do up until now, having only won three of the first four opening races in the two previous seasons.
But should anybody really be surprised? After winning the title in his first try onboard the ZX10R then successfully defending it on his second attempt, what else is left for him to do to stamp his authority over the championship other than outright domination, round after round after round? And that seems to be his and his crew’s goal for the season with the kind of start they are having so far, yet again taking the double victory with a dash of the new lap record for the Thai circuit on the side.
So no, this all really shouldn’t come as a surprise at all. But it should be worrisome for the rest of the grid.
How exactly do you beat a man who makes it all seem effortless when you’re having to dig deep, just to stay close?
It isn’t going to surprise me at all if Rea has his most dominating year on a Superbike this season.
It’s going to surprise me if someone actually finds a way to stop him.
(Images courtesy of WorldSBK.com)