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WSBK Lausitz, Germany: Shaina meets Jonathan Rea!

10-year-old super fan Shaina Salvia got to meet Jonathan Rea after his race two win at the German World Superbike round at the Lausitzring.
10-year-old super fan Shaina Salvia got to meet Jonathan Rea after his race two win at the German World Superbike round at the Lausitzring.

Shaina:
Hi, how are you?

Jonathan Rea:
I'm good thank you.

Shaina:
I've got a couple of questions. First question is what are the differences from this year compared to last year?

Rea:
Oh, that is a good question. The easiest answer is this season we received a new Kawasaki ZX-10R so we had to work really hard over the winter to understand all the different parameters of the bike, all the different settings which are required because the engine character is quite different, the chassis is quite different. Also the electronics set-up is a little different.

We had a lot of tests and luckily I've got a great team so we were ready for the start of the season in Australia but then we hit some difficulties and struggled with a lot of gearbox problems. I've been finding neutrals and having issues quite a lot which has meant I have lost a few points and positions and yesterday [Germany, race one] we crashed.

That is probably the biggest difference from last year. If you can imagine the perfect dream, last year was that dream. Always being on the podium and even the bad days we finished in good positions so it was incredible.

This year has been much more challenging for me personally than I thought it may have been. My rivals have got stronger – last year wasn't easy but certainly easier than this year – Tom Sykes is riding really strong as is Chaz Davies so the competition level has stepped up so I have had to look at myself and try to improve.



Shaina:
How do you pick yourself up after the crash in race one?

Rea:
I was really sad after the race because when I had a DNF in America and another DNF back to back it made my championship lead go from 71 points to 26. Over the summer I had been focusing on how to manage the championship lead and then some took 47 points directly off my lead. It was important that we focused and yesterday before the crash the bike set-up was quite good but unfortunately we crashed because we hit neutral.

I was feeling quite good in the race so we made some small adjustments on Sunday warm-up and I started to get confidence back again. The problem with the neutral was made by a crack so I could understand that as a rider because then we changed the gear selector because something with the selector mechanism made it so difficult. I convinced my own brain that It would be fine and I wouldn't find neutral in the next race.

Then, of course, it rained so it was quite stressful on the grid with the championship lead so it was difficult as I knew it was so easy to make a mistake in the race. I knew I could be reserved and wait for my opportunity and I did the opposite, I came out fighting and took the lead and didn't look back from it.

Shaina:
Do you think you perform better in the rain or when it is sunny?

Rea:
Both I think. I've had eight wins so far this season and only two have been in the rain – here and at Assen – and more wins in the dry than any other rider so I am really happy. The bike has been working really well in both conditions. On Friday and Saturday we struggled a little bit because we hadn't been to the Lausitzring testing with our bike unlike other teams.

Then we are off to Magny Cours which is a circuit we know very well. We don't have any more testing planned as we have so much information already and Magny Cours is not a new circuit for me or the team. It is a chance to start Friday morning strongly and then build instead of having to learn the track. This weekend we were changing the gearing up until race two, changing the set-up up until race two whereas at most tracks we can finalise the basic package of the bike on Friday.

We will also be able to hopefully do long runs there on Friday which we were never able to do here so the next race weekend should be more much straightforward – I hope!

Shaina:
You signed to stay with Kawasaki for two more years, does that mean you still want to get to MotoGP or are you happy here?

Rea:
I get this question a lot! I have never had a really good opportunity to go to MotoGP and if I did it would change the answer to the question but last year when I joined Kawasaki I was so happy as I always want to take the best opportunities in life in order to deliver good results.

So it is not just the sporting aspect but also a life aspect as well because last year was an amazing year for me not just on track but I also became a father for the second time and I am really happy in this paddock. Right now I have an incredible group of guys and girls who I work with that I really enjoy being a part of. It is a really high pressured job because it is so easy to get an injury or riding on the limit is not fun because worse could happen. But when you surround yourself with good people in the garage it is fun and makes the stress go away and you can enjoy riding.

Kawasaki has built an incredible bike, maybe the best in World Superbikes, so for me my future is only in World Superbikes.

Shaina:
How will you approach the next six races to defend your championship advantage?

Rea:
I don't like the word defend, I want to try to increase my points gap and try to do the best I can. I haven't had time to digest it all this weekend but next weekend I am going to the Motocross Race of Nations with all my engineers where we can understand it, enjoy it and relax about the last few races.

We have to be clever as it is a good margin but like we learned in the last two races it is very easy to lose 45 or 50 points so we have to be clever concentrating on day by day, race by race, and then in the end winning the championship would be a consequence of each race we do.

Shaina:
You had a long summer break between racing, what did you do?

Rea:
The first weekend my mum came to babysit my kids and my wife and I went for a weekend away and then I started working with a new trainer called Michael near my home on the Isle of Man. I had been training really hard, riding some motocross. My mechanics built be a track day bike, a Superstock version, so I did some track days here at Lausitzring and also at Jurby on the Isle of Man.

Normal stuff but honestly I was so bored after four or five weeks, I was so ready to get back on the bike. I happy now the season has started again because the next races are going to come fast with just a week off in between. It is important to get all the training in and stay in good shape to carry me to the end.

Shaina:
Is there anything you want to improve on the new Kawasaki ZX-10R or are you happy with the set-up now?

Rea:
I really want to improve the gearbox and the selection feeling because the problem that I've been having a lot is as I am not aggressive and quite smooth as a rider so from my side I need to improve my technique a little bit and also from the mechanical side it needs to become easier. I want to improve my one-lap speed so when I go to Superpole I can be really fast for one lap. Race by race it can change but right now it is the gearbox and one lap speed I want to improve.

The electronics side, Showa suspension and chassis is all quite good. Maybe we could squeeze some more top speed, that would be a nice thing to improve, as we are a factory team but we are not always the fastest bike. We are not far away but it would be nice to have a bit more.

Shaina:
Thanks so much for speaking with me.

Rea:
No problem, thanks for coming to see me.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Shaina Salvia, Jonathan Rea [Credit: Imre Paulovits]
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Davies, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016

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