Rea not thinking of retirement, motivation ‘at an all-time high’

Jonathan Rea says the thought of retirement ‘isn’t around right now’, instead motivation to win a seventh WorldSBK title is ‘at an all-time high’.
Jonathan Rea, Indonesian WorldSBK race2, 21 November 2021
Jonathan Rea, Indonesian WorldSBK race2, 21 November 2021
© Gold and Goose

Six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea has confirmed retirement is still a long way away as he enters his 15th season. 

The Kawasaki rider missed out on a seventh world title in 2021 after Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu got the better of the 34 year-old by just 13 points. 

It marked the first time since joining Kawasaki in 2015 that Rea had not won the title. But even so, it was still one of the most prolific seasons from the Northern Irishman, and one where he showed no signs of slowing down. 

Rea’s tally of 551 points was the most ever for a runner-up (his third highest ever), while he also claimed 30 wins and podiums combined which is his second best for a single season - only 2019 was better. 

So instead of thinking about retirement, a thought that ‘isn’t around right now’, Rea is more motivated than ever to win.

"At this stage of my career, I feel like motivation is at an all-time high. I don’t need to ride on the limit… all I wanted to be as a child was a World Champion and I did that in 2015," Rea told 

"Right now, I’m motivated just by winning, pushing my bike to its limits, beating my rivals, but I also get a lot of enjoyment from travelling to new places and working hard with my team in the background. 

"I don’t know when it’ll stop… what was a strange feeling for me this year was when Chaz [Davies] retired. 

"He’s been a career rival and I almost wanted to go to Chaz and say, ‘hey man, is this something that creeps up season-by-season or race-by-race or does it just arrive one day and that’s it’ because I know my time’s going to come but I want to finish my way.”

"That’s what I want… that’s how I see things. As a motorcycle racer that never happens, but I must say that the feeling isn’t around right now. It’s about winning." 

As we reported a few days ago, Rea has a multi-year deal that expires at the end of 2023. The Kawasaki rider has also alluded to potentially finishing his career out with another team should an interesting offer come about, which would obviously result in Rea signing another deal for 2024 and perhaps beyond.

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