WSBK: Jonathan Rea won’t alter approach for home race at Donington

Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea
Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea isn’t placing any extra special emphasis on this weekend’s World Superbike meeting at Donington Park, which serves as the Kawasaki star’s home round of the championship.

Rea has blazed a trail in the series this year to storm into a commanding lead of 87 points over Aprilia’s Leon Haslam, winning a staggering eight of the ten races so far and finishing as the runner-up twice.

The Ulster rider has been utterly dominant on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in the opening five rounds of the championship, completing three trebles at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand, Assen and Imola in Italy to take the title race by storm.

And the KRT star is targeting more of the same this weekend in front of his home fans at Donington, where Rea previously celebrated glory in 2012.

Rea, now the eighth most successful WSBK rider ever with 23 victories, is eager to give the British crowd plenty to cheer on Sunday, but says he won’t treat the weekend any differently to any other race.

“Being a home race does not change how I approach the weekend, or how I ride. I do find it bizarre how some guys at home find that X-factor, but we just treat it like another race,” he said.

“I have a lot of family coming over from Ireland and a lot of my British fans have been telling me on social media that they are coming, so it is going to be amazing to come home and see all my supporters.

“I would say that the UK is where I have most of my fan base, so hopefully I can meet a lot of people and make them all proud.”

Rea is mindful that Donington has not been his happiest of hunting grounds in recent seasons, though he is confident the Kawasaki will be a formidable package at the iconic venue.

“I think the formula we have found in the working relationship between me and the rest of the team, my crew chief and the engineers at KHI is going very well,” he said.

“We need to continue that way of working because Donington has presented some challenges to me in the past, as a rider.

“But last year, when I look at the results and watch the races again, it is clear that it is a track that really suits the Ninja ZX-10R, thanks to the stability of the bike in the last sector and the agility and handling in the first sector,” Rea added.

“I expect to be strong but we do not know how strong we can be until Saturday qualifying.”