By Christian Tiburtius
An exclusive interview with ten-time WSBK race winner Jonathan Rea, in which the Pata Honda star reflects on his career so far, life on and off track, last year's MotoGP debut and more...
How did you get into racing?
When I was two years old, a family holiday for me was going to the Isle of Man TT or the North West 200 to watch my father race. So I've grown up around bikes and it was a natural progression to start in Motocross.
I got a taste for winning very early on. I won the British Motocross championship in '97 when I was only 10 or 11. From that point the competitive nature in me has taken over and I just love the taste of victory and achieving goals. But you need that drive because, most riders don't like to admit it, but riding at the pace that we do is not always the most rewarding thing because it can be pretty scary.
Another rewarding thing for me is chasing that perfect lap, putting the sectors together. It gives you great mental satisfaction.
For me the winning feeling doesn't last very long, but while you've got it, when you get back you see that you've not just made yourself happy, you've also made your team happy and made a difference to a lot of people's lives. That mood carries and is infectious and when you get that taste, you just want more and more. It's pretty addictive.
You mentioned your father, what role does he play?
He won the Junior [now Supersport] TT in 89. He's a competitive guy. But he was never the typical, pushy schoolboy motocross father, so when we went to the circuits it was primarily because of fun. Having said that though, we were there together to win championships.
Like I said, he wasn't a typical schoolboy motocross father where I got screamed at, but his experience allowed him to improve my riding. He taught me to constantly work on improving myself.
My dad's always in the background, he probably comes to 60 -70% of my races. He just makes sure everything's going fine and enjoys seeing me do well. He tends not to be in the garage because racing technology has moved on since his day.
When we're at a racetrack we don't really have a father/son relationship, it's business. You need to be surrounded by business-like people who aren't afraid to tell me what you're doing wrong. He's there for me mentally when I'm having a bad day. Your family sees the best and worst of you, they're there for you when you're lying in a hospital bed or coming through your injuries.