Jonathan Rea – the husband of Phillip Island local Tatia Weston – has been crowned World Superbike Champion of 2015 after a stellar season including 12 race wins and 20 podium finishes from 21 races. Building an unassailable lead, he finished the job conservatively at round 11 at Spain’s Jerez circuit overnight, taking two fourth places to sign off on his first world superbike title.
Rea took the title with 478 points, and after 11 rounds Ducati’s Chaz Davies sits in second place on 353 points and team mate Tom Sykes on 331 points. The final two rounds are to be held France’s Magny Cours and Qatar on October 18.
Rea who hails from Northern Ireland, but spends summers in Australia with wife Tatia and son Jake, joined the Kawasaki Racing Team at the beginning of the season and kicked off the year with a win at Phillip Island.He has been pursuing the title since his first full world superbike campaign in 2009.
“This is an amazing moment for me in my career,” said Rea after wrapping up the title.“There has been a lot of hard work from myself, sacrifice and dedication from my family, but most of all this championship would not be possible without Kawasaki. I want to thank both my team manager Guim Roda, and Steve Guttridge from KME, who really believed in me and gave me this opportunity. Right now it has not sunk in. Moments like this are even more special because of the challenges I have faced with injuries. When I watched the 2002 World Championship between Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss I got so much inspiration from it. It became like, ‘I have to do this.’ So even in tough times I never doubted my ability. Right now it still does not feel real but I am world champion and I am really proud.”
Rea first mounted the all-conquering Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R at MotorLand Aragon on 17 November 2014, supported all the way by Team Manager and former rider Guim Roda.
The Northern Irishman arrived in Malaysia at the start of August already with a mathematic chance of claiming the title, despite three rounds still remaining of the 13. After Race 1 at Jerez, he has now won 12 races this year and picked up 20 podium finishes from the first 21 races. He is chasing Doug Polen’s 1991 record of 17 race victories in one season, which now can only be equalled.
Since the inauguration of WorldSBK in 1988, Rea is the third rider to win the crown on a Kawasaki motorcycle. The first was American Scott Russell in 1993, while the next was Rea’s current team-mate Tom Sykes two decades later.
Rea has also become the first different World Champion in as many years (with the last five titles having been sealed by Carlos Checa, Max Biaggi, Tom Sykes and Sylvain Guintoli) and the fifth British World Champion after Carl Fogarty, Neil Hodgson, James Toseland and the aforementioned Tom Sykes.
Although Rea’s raw talent has never been questioned over the past six seasons, all of which he contested on Honda machinery, it wasn’t until the 28-year-old from Ballymena rode the green bike until his maximum potential could be extracted.
All the while off the track, the humble Briton has remained a professional, unassuming human being, rider, husband and father. He currently resides on the Isle of Man.
The coveted crown in his hands, the new number one faces the rest of the season with copious amount of convince, fully aware of the many goals he can still achieve and the fact that Jonathan Rea is the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Champion.
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