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World Superbikes: Title-chasing Jonathan Rea focusing on race wins

Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Rea says he is focusing on winning races as he chases an unprecedented fourth consecutive World Superbike title. The Kawasaki rider enjoys a 92-point lead with four rounds remaining as the championship resumes in Portugal after a break of more than two months.

Jonathan Rea Getty Images

“I’m trying to focus on doing the best I can, going out to win and not think about the championship,” said Rea.

“That’s going to be the attitude – to try and win the rest of these races.”

No room for complacency

“I’m in the driving seat for the championship but sometimes when your back isn’t against the wall it’s hard to come out with super-big performances.”

The 31-year-old is on target to equal Carl Fogarty’s career record of four Superbike crowns, having already smashed the Englishman’s benchmark tally of 60 race wins this season, the Ballyclare man’s victory count now standing at 64.

Rea has won 10 of this year’s 18 races so far over nine rounds, including successive doubles at the last two rounds at Misano and Laguna Seca, and has finished on the podium 15 times.

An extension of his winning sequence could see him clinch the title at Magny-Cours in late September, as he did last season.

Double delights for ReaThree double triumphs in 2018 have helped him build up a healthy advantage over nearest rival, Welshman Chaz Davies, with rounds in France, Argentina and Qatar to follow after this weekend’s races over the Portimao circuit.

“Everything’s on track right now – I went into the summer break wanting a nice points cushion and that’s what I’ve got,” said Rea.

“I just need to attack these last four rounds and try to be as consistent and fast as possible – minimise the mistakes and stay healthy for the rest of the year.

“The big target of a fourth world championship is in the back of my head – Carl Fogarty has achieved that and he was the greatest of all time in Superbike terms.

“I have already surpassed his win total which is incredible and I just feel like it’s my time, my wave, and I want to ride it for as long as possible and enjoy every moment of it.”

The Isle of Man-based rider was a double winner at Portimao in 2017, having also won both races there in 2015 and securing a single race success in 2014 so he is chasing a sixth triumph at the 4.69-mile Portuguese circuit.

“Portimao is a great circuit for me. The track is very undulating, not your typical motorcycle circuit, it’s almost like a motocross track and a lot of G-force goes through your body.

“When your bike is just a little bit off there the rider can always make the difference and I enjoy that challenge.”

2018 WSB Riders’ Championship
Jonathan Rea (GB) Kawasaki 370 pts
Chaz Davies (GB) Ducati 278
Michael van der Mark (Ned) Yamaha 248
Tom Sykes (GB) Kawasaki 218
Marco Melandri (Ita) Ducati 193
Alex Lowes (GB) Yamaha 193

Source: BBC Sport