As the sun sets on the final European round of the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, one man’s party is just starting as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has made history once more: becoming the first rider to take four consecutive World Superbike Championships.
But how did he get here? How has a young rider with great ambition from Ballymena in Northern Ireland cemented his name in the WorldSBK history books? We take a look over his career highlights, all of which paved the way for him to become the most successful rider in WorldSBK history.
Heading into the early parts of his career, Rea was born with big ambition in the world of motocross, but he soon realized he had a strong talent on the roads:
2nd February 1987 – Born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland (One of Four)
1997 – British 60cc motocross champion
2003 – Moved over to road racing – British 125GP Championship
But it wasn’t until 2004 that he made the switch to the asphalt:
2004 – Joined British Supersport Championship
2007 – British Superbike Championship Runner-Up
2008 – Debuted in World Supersport Championship and wild card in WorldSBK
His road to the top in WorldSBK began in 2009, as he made the full time switch to the world stage into the Ten Kate Honda garage:
2009 – Moved to WorldSBK with Honda, first victory in Misano’s Race Two
2012 – Took his 10th WorldSBK victory at Donington Park – Race Two
After success with Honda and taking 15 victories overall, he then made the switch to become the man in green and an unstoppable force. Signing for Kawasaki in 2015, he took his first win in the opening race and the success continued to escalate. Crowned champion in his first year with the ZX-10R, the success he has seen with the Kawasaki Racing Team has been nothing short of sensational.
With a strong crew around him – particularly his crew chief Pere Riba – Rea has built up a strong unit of crew who understand how he and the bike works. On top of this, his family are able to keep him grounded throughout the highs and the lows. But as he continues to break records every season he swings his leg over the ZX-10RR, it remains to be seen if anyone can stop Rea.
2015 – Joined Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK, Crowned World Champion – 14 victories and 24 podiums.
2015 – Secured his 20th WorldSBK Victory in WorldSBK, in Assen Race One. His 5th for Kawasaki.
2015 – 25th WorldSBK victory secured in Portimao Race Two.
2016 – Took 30th WorldSBK victory in the opening race of the season at Phillip Island. 9 wins and 23 podiums.
2016 – Crowned world champion. First back to back world champion since Carl Fogarty.
2017 – Won his 40th race victory at Phillip Island’s race two.
2017 – First rider in history to take three WorldSBK titles in a row and secured his 50th race win. 16 wins and 24 podiums secured.
2018 – Equalled Carl Fogarty’s overall win record at Imola, his 59th overall.
2018 – Secured most victories ever in WorldSBK at Automotodrom Brno.
2018 – Won his 66th race win at Portimao – making it three back to backs in a row at one circuit.
2018 – Secured his fourth world title at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the first rider in history to take four consecutive titles.
Relive some of Rea’s greatest triumphs so far, or enjoy how he took his fourth world title, all with the WorldSBK VideoPass.