Rea has only been beaten to a WorldSBK title once since joining Kawasaki in 2015, and in order for that to happen it required a near perfect season from Toprak Razgatlioglu in 2021.

While Razgatlioglu started as the favourite heading into 2022 and has been impressive at times, Rea has been even better than the Yamaha rider, again showing incredible mental strength to fight back, just as he did during the 2019 season when Alvaro Bautista was dominating in the early stages. 

Fast forward three seasons and we’re starting to see the same pattern of Bautista winning more often than not and therefore increasing his championship lead. 

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But as Rea’s shown on several occasions, his ability to dig deep and get the best results from any situation is like no other, which is a major reason why crew chief Pere Riba believes Rea has been so successful.

"For me, one of the reasons Johnny is a world champion that many times is because he has the skills to understand in every single situation," said Riba. 

"In front of different changes of rules, changes in a new homologation, or going up and down in peak revs. Johnny has crazy skills to understand every single situation, how to manage it and how to get the best from the package. 

"And that aspect, I can tell you from a rider’s point of view, is very, very difficult to do."

Rea riding with ‘smoothness, lap times coming easy’ in 2022

Unlike last year Rea hasn’t been overriding in order to try and win races, something that led to several uncharacteristic crashes last year.

Part of the reason for that is a ZX10-RR machine that is providing stability on corner entry and allowing Rea to ride smoothly, according to Riba: "Johnny found a bike that is very suitable to extract the best from the package. Johnny requests smoothness and he requests entry corner stability. His lap times were coming easy, which means that the base of this bike is very suitable for his riding style. 

"And we improved the bike, step-by-step. We never made a huge change or had a completely new bike since 2015. If you start from zero again you need years to understand the package."

Could Donington Park be crucial for Rea’s WorldSBK title hopes?

Winner of four out of the last six races at Donington Park, Rea’s home round could be a vital point in the championship and one where reducing Bautista’s championship lead is a must. 

Bautista has never won at the British circuit and in fact, it was the first round where his 2019 season began to suffer.

Of course, Rea will also have to fend off Razgatlioglu who like the Northern Irishman, goes very well around Donington Park. 

The reigning world champion claimed a double win at Donington last season in what turned out to be the first race weekend of the year where he imposed himself over Rea.