In winning his 58th career WorldSBK race at Imola today, Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea drew himself to within one victory of equalling Carl Fogarty’s all-time race winning record.
No biggie for Rea after race one’s latest success. “I have not thoughts about it. It is race-by-race. Honestly I have prepared nothing. It is not really a big deal. It is a big deal because I would have more race wins and it will be nice to be talked about as equalling Foggy’s win record. For me, it is important to be the best and I need four titles for that. That is the big target.”
When asked did he not need five titles to be out there on his own, not just equal Fogarty with four, Rea shot back, “I think if I have four and beat his win record that will be enough! I do not think you can argue on top trumps with that.”
Rea does not think about the achievements beyond how much he appreciates his recent success. For a reason.
From being about the only rider to be able to win on a Honda for several seasons, to winning races and titles with consistency as soon as he joined Kawasaki, he said, “I don’t really think about it. Every weekend with my wife we open up a bottle of wine and reflect on how fortunate I am to have this job, and opportunity, and this success.
“If it was the opposite way around, and you started winning and then you struggle, it would be difficult to accept. But right now I understand how fortunate I am to have this.”
Even with the examples of Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa winning titles at a relatively advanced age, Rea does not see himself racing for that many more seasons. “I don’t see retirement right now but I do not want to be racing at 38 and 39 years old. Right now I am 31 and I do not want to put a date on retirement, because it is not cool, I really want to stop at the top and try to be healthy when I stop.
“It is hard when you are enjoying things so much to try to think, ‘OK I can only do one more year or two more years, or whatever’. I take it every year and if I keep enjoying things then, why not? I can’t see retirement because I am having so much fun. With the helmet off, the atmosphere in the garage, certainly on my side, and the way I feel with all my mechanics, is really nice.”