The World Superbike championship goes into the summer break with Jonathan Rea once again standing on the verge of a title. The Northern Irishman has been consistently able to get the most from his Kawasaki over the course of the last three years and, while there are plenty of calls for change in WorldSBK, it is worth taking stock of just how impressive Rea's feats have been.

When Rea signed for Kawasaki in 2015, his credentials were clear as a top Superbike rider. 15 wins and 42 podiums while riding for Honda over the course of six years had shown his talent, but it was only the switch to Team Green that really allowed Rea to flourish. Paired with Tom Sykes at the Provec-run squad, Rea has been dominated the series over the last 34 rounds and claim a remarkable 32 wins, 61 rostrum finishes, in total, from 68 races - that's a rostrum result percentage of 89.7%.

It's a run for the ages in WorldSBK and one that has, rightly in some quarters, called for changes to be made to the class. These are being mooted as rule changes to try bring the dominant Kawasaki and Ducati squads closer to the rest of the field.

Fans want to see the front of the field more competitive with Yamaha, Aprilia, MV Agusta, Honda and BMW all able to get to the sharp end, and with ultimately with it bring back the 'golden era' of WorldSBK. A look through the record books, however, shows that most seasons have been dominated by only a pair of manufacturers.

In the last Golden Era, from 1991 until 2004, for the most part WorldSBK was utterly dominated by Ducati. The Italian manufacturer claimed almost two thirds of all wins during the period with 219 victories and 11 titles. Until the 2003 season, Ducati only competed in WorldSBK and didn't even develop a MotoGP machine. Instead, they saw the value of racing in the production derived series - and it's much the same stance that Kawasaki has adapted during their years of dominance.

In recent years there has been numerous regulations brought into force to try and reduce Kawasaki's advantage. This is something that is very appropriate and something that hasn't been objected to by Kawasaki. The green machines have still been able to win, but much of that could be attributed to Rea's performance.

His team-mate, Tom Sykes, is one of the very best Superbike riders on the planet. When the Englishman retires he will have at least one world title and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him add to that. With 33 race wins and 41 Superpoles his legacy will be clear, but he has been hurt by the regulation changes in recent years. His speed on the Ninja has been blunted and he has been brought back to the field.

The issue at hand in WorldSBK isn't regulatory - it's Rea. The 30-year-old is riding a tidal wave of confidence and until someone can unsettle him, he will continue to lead the way and win races. It's likely there will be some changes to the technical regulations but we are witnessing a rider rewrite the history books and it can't be denied that Rea's ability on the bike and team set-up are the biggest factor in that.

It may take some time and the rest of the field will surely close the gap on Kawasaki - but it's also worth enjoying what we are witnessing, with Rea on course to be remembered as the greatest WorldSBK rider in history.

When the 2017 season resumes next month Rea will begin with a healthy 59-point advantage over nearest challenger Sykes and on course to become the first rider to win three consecutive WorldSBK world titles and leave him within reach of matching Carl Fogarty's all-time record of four championships.

Time will tell whether the expected WorldSBK technical regulation changes will halt his charge and enable his rivals to write a new chapter in the history of the series.


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I'm a Ducati fan but Johnny is the smoothest rider out there always steady eddieish ! I rode with Hailwood way back he rides so smooth as Mike did Rea is a joy to watch ! I'm sure Mike would agree

Misleading title for a tribute to Rea! No details about new regs. or how they might affect the series. Somebody needs to try harder!

fighters53: Rea and Kawasaki need to move on to Motogp, Superbike is at best the third tier, go run with the big dogs.[\blockquote]
Kawasaki have made the decision that the cost of MotoGP does not give a good enough return technically. Realistically the WSB lap times are close to MOTOGP and Dorna are just protecting their top series by downgrading WSB.

Whilst Jonathon is the best rider let's not forget that a Chaz isn't too far behind. If he had settled for points in the races he fell off it would be a lot closer in the championship. Changing rules because one rider has gelled with bike is nonsense. Leave the rules alone.

Rea and Kawasaki need to move on to Motogp, Superbike is at best the third tier, go run with the big dogs.

WSBK was surely better back in the 90s when Japanese manufacturers were actually involved in the series. The first incarnation of WSBK died at the end of 2002. The 2003 season was a farce. Another peak was around 2009. Now it's another low. The talent is there, but material is not.
Current WSBK is too Europe-oriented, which is quite a problem when top sports bike manufacturers come from Japan. The golden times will probably never return, but that goes for motorsport in general I guess.

fighters53: Rea and Kawasaki need to move on to Motogp, Superbike is at best the third tier, go run with the big dogs.[\blockquote]
MotoGP? Look how Suzuki, Aprilia and KTM struggle there. Here Kawasaki can dominate for a fraction of costs.

Take a look at the competition if you want to see the reason for their lack of competitiveness. Aside from Ducati and Kawasaki there is only one full factory effort in WSBK and to be honest,despite Camier's undeniable talent, MV Agusta's effort is limited by the size of that factory

The Honda is a new bike in its first season and Ten Kate while they are receiving support are not as capable as a works team. They tragically lost their best development rider and Bradl is simply not a Rea or a Sykes

Yamaha is in its second season with a new bike and a surrogate team with young riders who are still learning their craft. They are showing some results but are nowhere near consistent.

Aprilia have never made a long-term commitment to WSBK. Their annual indecision about whether or not to remain has hurt them badly. They start over each year and have to rebuild to where they were at the end of the previous season. They will not return to the top of the podium until they return to the l

It's actually difficult to write anything about WSBK and avoid Rea's due tribute.

it's laughable to suggest Dorna is downgrading Superbikes. The last owners were only to glad to offload it as it was clearly dying on it's feet.
It's time that WSBK runs it's season during MotoGP off season and in totally different locations. Without the competition the interest in it would revive and therefore be of more interest to sponsors and circuits.

It's also about time that a lot more riders from Asia were involved at the moment it's basically BSB on a global scale.

Oh and while I'm at it, time to dump WSS and replace it with Moto" AND Moto3 bikes .

The show is dull and irrelevant currently.