Rea on final race with Kawasaki:: ‘I wasn’t riding with emotion’

Jonathan Rea says there was no added emotion when riding his final WorldSBK race with Kawasaki at Jerez last season.
Jonathan Rea, race 2, Spanish WorldSBK, 29 October
Jonathan Rea, race 2, Spanish WorldSBK, 29 October

The six-time WorldSBK champion made a brilliant start to his final race in green and black, before crashing out of the lead at turn two. 

Rea, was in fact pulling clear of eventual race winner Alvaro Bautista before the fall, but despite his mistake, it didn’t stop the new Yamaha rider from completing the race.

2023 was Rea’s least successful season with Kawasaki since joining the Japanese brand in 2015, but even so, the Northern Irishman still managed to claim a victory in Most and finish third in the championship.

A difficult year as Ducati and Yamaha were a step ahead in terms of out-right performance, Rea was still a contender in some races, especially the shortened Superpole races.

Looking back at the season-finale at Jerez, Rea was adamant that it was just another race: “I wasn’t riding with emotion, anger or wanting it even more. I was really flowing with my bike. 

“Off the lights I think I did a 40, something [lap time] and thought f***ing hell, this is feeling good. 

“Of course, too good. I overstepped it a bit in turn two. The bike got a little bit squirrely going in and instead of relaxing the front brake and blowing the corner a little bit, I really committed to making the corner with a lot of [lean] angle and down I went. Not the end that both me or the team deserved.”

Rea, who was unaware of Guim Roda’s pit wall signal during the race, said finishing every lap until the checkered flag ‘was super nice’.

“I think three laps after I crashed I saw Guim on the pit wall and he was doing this (signalling) and I don’t know if it was to come in or to keep going, but I just kept going,” added Rea. “Every lap I got through was super nice.”

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