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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 343 - August 2018 > THE SUPERBIKE KING


We sat down with Jonathan Rea, to get his honest take on World Superbikes, life in the fast lane and lost opportunities in MotoGP…


That new Arai hasn’t quite taken off yet.


He might be the most successful rider in World Superbike history, but J onathan Rea’s career has had more ups and downs than an Easyjet flight to Malaga, making his Foggy-crushing record of 6 0 race wins undeniably impressive. Y et even so, those of us with a short memory might think of the World Superbike Championship as a tedious procession with the Northern Irishman in front, followed not-so-closely by a chasing pack of desperados. But between horrendous injuries, battling on average machinery and years of tireless prep, Rea has worked barbarically hard at creating a pretty impressive legacy. H e might not have the charisma of Marc Marquez, the fanatical support of Valentino Rossi or the brutally alluring nature of C arl Fogarty, but he is just as fast on two wheels as any of those. And surprisingly, when I got to sit down with him over tea and cakes, he was way more brutally honest than I’d ever have expected the softly-spoken champ to be…

Easing in

When you get 2 0 minutes to chill out and chat with a factory rider, it’s all about picking your words carefully so you can get the real info – and not the P R bullsh* t. This meant that before we got into the nitty gritty, I had to get a bit of background on Rea, and paint a picture on how he ended up being so successful. So, having read that Jonathan never actually wanted to race on short circuits (and was a self-confessed failed motocross racer), the first question was to see if he ever saw himself racing on a world level on tarmac. “To be honest I wanted to race motocross, it was a bit of a decision when I was 15 years old and my dad had pretty much lost the appetite for MX as we were travelling the length and breadth of the UK from Ireland most weekends and just knocking on the door of race wins, but to make the next step I needed a full investment, but as we weren’t rich it wasn’t going to happen.

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Gabrielle sang a song about dreams coming true, and do you know what, she wasn’t fibbing. After way too many hours, days and years of dreaming, I finally got that golden ticket to sample the delights of Italy’s finest race track: Mugello. And not on some battered C90 with spokes missing, I’ll have you know. Parked up in a pristine garage, packed with factory technicians and enough fresh rubber to keep a porn star happy, stood an audacious-looking winged wonder. Yep, this was my chance to try out Aprilia’ s112bhp Factory Works RSV4 on a circuit crafted by the gods. Let’s just say neither the bike nor the track disappointed, as you’ll know after you’ve read this issue’s report. The Aprilia’s the latest in a succession of new and exciting propositions that have made an appearance of late, squaring up to the likes of BMW’ sHP4 Race, Honda’s RC213V -S and Ducati’s 1299 Superleggera. And there will undoubtedly be more such steeds on the way, as rival brands flex their engineering muscles and throw everything they’ve got into topping the charts for the lightest, fastest and most innovative of motorcycles . But there’s also plenty of good news for financially humble mortals such as myself, as it looks like we’re going to be treated to some far more attainable metal in 2019.