Riba: 2022 WorldSBK season will be ‘good for the show’, Rea ‘very motivated’

Pere Riba, crew chief to six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea, believes the 2022 season could be the best yet and one with ‘many winners’.
Jonathan Rea and Pere Riba, French WSBK race2, 2020
Jonathan Rea and Pere Riba, French WSBK race2, 2020
© Gold and Goose

After missing out on the 2021 WorldSBK title for the first time since joining Kawasaki in 2015, Jonathan Rea is extra ‘motivated’ to get the better of Toprak Razgatlioglu according to crew chief Pere Riba. 

Rea and Razgatlioglu are the two clear title favourites heading into a 2022 season that promises so much. 

Razgatlioglu, who could be looking at a switch to MotoGP in 2023, will undoubtedly be wanting to consolidate his maiden title especially if he does leave WorldSBK, while Rea is going in search of a stunning seventh world title. 

While it’s obvious that no team or rider wants to be second best, Razgatlioglu’s title win has given a ‘great motivation’ to everyone in the KRT team, none more than Rea himself.

"Jonny [Rea] is very happy and he’s very motivated," Riba told WorldSBK. "Sometimes, people forget what happened in the past. He’s been six years consecutively with the number one but last year, we lose it. 

"I have to say that Toprak really deserved it because he did a great job. We lost the championship in the last race and I’m honestly very proud of all the guys in the team, and also proud of Jonny and what he did in 2021. 

"Now, we focus on 2022 and we have a big challenge; the target is to win again, and this gives great motivation to everyone."

Regarding factory teams, Yamaha and Kawasaki have identical line-ups as they did in 2021 which should see them be even stronger than last season - Alex Lowes returns to full fitness, while Andrea Locatelli is heading into his second season - while Alvaro Bautista has re-joined Aruba.it Racing Ducati alongside Michael Rinaldi.

Although it’s difficult to say Bautista is an upgrade over the departed Scott Redding, who has been a title threat in both of his Superbike campaigns, the Spaniard did manage more wins in his one and only season for the team than Redding achieved in both his seasons at Ducati.

Riba expects Bautista to be a title challenger, while not discounting the likes of Honda and BMW. 

Both manufacturers need to make significant steps in order to battle with Yamaha, Ducati and Kawasaki, however, it could be argued that Honda and BMW have their strongest rider pairings since returning to the sport as full factory outfits. 

Yes, Honda have two rookies, however, both Xavi Vierge and Iker Lecuona have looked fast during testing and promise a lot of potential, while 2020 series runner-up Redding joins another WorldSBK race winner in Michael Van Der Mark at the German manufacturer

Riba added: "When you finish second, it means that someone else is in front. We want to beat him (Razgatlioglu/Yamaha) but to beat him, we must work even harder. 

"Then, you’ve got different manufacturers who are working very well, plus Alvaro Bautista will be with Ducati and that will be very strong, and I believe it won’t just be Jonny and Toprak. 

"I believe they’ll be at the front consistently, but Alvaro will be there, Honda are working hard to make a step forward and the two young riders will bring great speed and motivation to the team. They are quick, young and motivated, which is very good for the team. 

"Also, BMW, they are working hard, and they have two top riders. I believe that 2022 will be a very, very good year for the show with many winners."

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