Rea: 'We’re not competitive enough, we don’t have that reference anymore’

Jonathan Rea believes Kawasaki has lost its place as the ‘reference’ atop WorldSBK and that the Japanese manufacturer is not competitive enough anymore.
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK San Juan
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki WorldSBK San Juan

For the second consecutive season it looks as though Rea will not win the WorldSBK title after going yet another weekend winless in San Juan, the seventh race weekend in a row that’s happened.

The six-time world champion had been able to consistently challenge the likes of Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu for pure pace, but when it’s come to race conditions the Ducati and Yamaha riders have often had more. 

Rea did look set to claim his first win since Estoril after dominating the opening few laps of last Sunday’s Superpole Race, however, a mistake at turn one then led to him giving up the lead to Razgatlioglu, while Bautista also came through for second.

Bautista, who was struggling to stay with the top two, believes Rea would have won without the error. 

"If Jonny didn’t make the mistake, he’d have won the race; Jonny was stronger than Toprak and me." said Bautista. 

"When Toprak was behind him, he was pushing so hard, whereas after Jonny made the mistake, the pace slowed down. 

"When I saw that and I saw Toprak go slower, I thought ‘OK, let’s try!’ but he defended everything. 

"I tried a couple of times but in the last lap, he just pushed me out but there was just no space."

Rea on the other hand has voiced concerns that Kawasaki is too far from where it needs to be after his longest winless streak since joining the Japanese brand continued in San Juan. 

Jonathan Rea, Argentinian WorldSBK race2, 23 October
Jonathan Rea, Argentinian WorldSBK race2, 23 October

Rea added: "I’m disappointed with the situation we’re in and that we’re not competitive enough. However, it is what it is: Ducati and Alvaro and Yamaha and Toprak are doing an incredible job and we need to step up. 

"It’s clear the areas we need to improve but we’re not touching the sides; it’s hard. We can’t have it all our own way, but I don’t feel like we have that reference anymore, which is good because I just hope everyone digs in and realises and reacts to it. 

"This year, in some circuits, we’re fighting with our hands tied behind our back and that’s frustrating. 

"Apart from that, I feel like I’m riding well and that everyone inside the box is doing their best, but we just can’t make the improvements we need."

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