EXCLUSIVE: ‘World titles don’t come for free, it’s very tough’, says Jonathan Rea

The most decorated rider in WorldSBK history believes he has a good chance of further success at Yamaha, although Jonathan Rea admits it won't be easy.

Jonathan Rea, Jerez WorldSBK test, 25 January
Jonathan Rea, Jerez WorldSBK test, 25 January

Overcoming Ducati will be a huge obstacle for any rider in 2024, and WorldSBK legend Jonathan Rea is included in that following his switch to Yamaha.

Adaptation to the R1 has gone well for the six-time champion, but when talking about a seventh crown, Rea was quick to acknowledge the difficulties in achieving that feat.

Speaking to Crash.net, Rea said: “When we talk about trying to win another world title we have to remember that these world titles don’t come for free. It’s very tough.

“Especially with WorldSBK getting more and more competitive. There are more and more machines that are capable of fighting for victories.

“Listen, Yamaha has given me a great opportunity. We saw how competitive, not just the factory team, but the satellite teams too.”

That propelled us onto a discussion about the current level in WorldSBK and where Rea thinks the series is at.

Due to his longevity in the class, and particularly at such a high level, Rea has faced off against the best for much of his career.

A race winner in every season he’s competed in full-time, Rea has gone against the likes of Troy Corser, Troy Bayliss, Max Biaggi, Ben Spies and more.

That’s without mentioning the current stars like Toprak Razgatlioglu and two-time defending champion Alvaro Bautista.

But when asked if WorldSBK is the most competitive it’s ever been, Rea was hesitant to agree.

“Yes and no,” began the Yamaha rider. “I had this question on the weekend and it’s very unfair to just jump to the current year that you are in.

“When I look back at the racers I lined up against - Bayliss, Corser, Haga, Ben Spies, Biaggi, Melandri. These guys are class, world class.

“What I think now is that there is a case for every manufacturer because regulations are very close.

“Dorna have done very well to encourage the official teams to supply customer teams with equal machinery.

“If gives more opportunity and with regulations constantly under review, with a view of making every one competitive, there are more people at the front fighting for victories.

“It’s always going to be the best guys that rise to the top and that’s what crowns a champion at the end.”

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