World Superbike star Jonathan Rea on what it takes to challenge for EWC glory in Suzuka
Jonathan Rea, the six-time winner of the FIM Superbike World Championship, has revealed the level of effort required to bid for victory in the FIM Endurance World Championship.
Northern Irishman Rea and English team-mates Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes finished second in the 43rd Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours, Japan’s hugely famous and demanding round of the EWC, earlier this month riding for the Kawasaki Racing Team.
Having qualified second fastest, the #10 Kawasaki ZX-10RR led the race on lap nine, and from lap 29 to 30 during a gruelling race of attrition. But an unfortunately timed safety car intervention and a fall for Rea while trying to pass two riders running further down the order cost vital time and restricted Kawasaki’s factory squad to the runner-up spot behind the winning Team HRC entry.
“We have worked really well together, everybody from back room staff, strategy people, caterers, nutritionists, doctors – every single person in the team worked so hard with a busy schedule to get here,” said the two-time Suzuka 8 Hours winner, 35. “It is not easy to have two goals in a single season – the WorldSBK championship and also the Suzuka 8 Hours. We had huge competition here and did our best. I feel we just came up short but we can be proud, and really proud of my team-mates and everyone else for their hard work. It is a little bit bittersweet coming second best but we can fly home knowing we gave it our best shot. There were a few mistakes in the race, a few issues, but that is endurance racing and we can stand on that podium and be proud of our efforts. Thanks to Kawasaki and all of our sponsors for making this happen and no doubt we will be back again to try and go one better.”