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Redding 'doing a better job in the championship' – Rea

Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea heaped praise on Scott Redding after the Jerez WorldSBK weekend and stressed that it is vital to be leading the championship in uncertain times.

After taking away a hatful of points from the weekend, Rea is now second in the title chase behind the Aruba Ducati man but has in the back of his mind what could happen if there is another Covid flare-up.

He also pointed out that this time last year, he had been having his arse handed to him by 15s by Bautista, but still managed to pull out a fifth title.


“In this race I struggled a lot but generally at this point of the season last year I was getting beat by 15 seconds, yesterday it was one.” he said on Sunday at Jerez.

“So it is quite different. I still feel really good and I feel like while Ducati still have an advantage on the straights, with Redding on the bike he is a lot heavier than Bautista was, so the difference is not as much, perhaps. That is one positive for this season. For the rest, we have to see.

“It is going to be a tough season and Scott looks like he is going to be strong in every circuit. But there are some circuits he has not been to before, like Magny Cours, also Portimao in a race situation, so we shall see.”

Rea thought that sixth in race two was maybe the worst non-crash or tech failure in his whole Kawasaki tenure, and that most riders would be pleased with a sixth place.

“In a season like this I think you are going to see guys win races and then be off the podium. Like Alex won in PI and was off the podium this weekend. I won and then was off the podium today. Scott is quite regular in being on the podium in all the races, which is important, so he is doing a better job right now in the championship, being consistent.”

Redding on the factory Ducati, and Davies also in race two, passing Rea could be expected, but the GO Eleven Ducati and Michael Ruben Rinaldi combination coming by must have been an unexpected and unwelcome sight.

“It is never pleasant getting passed,” said Rea. “I could do nothing because I felt like a sitting duck. I was just trying to stay upright. I was a bit sorry for the guys behind me because I was just trying to make myself wide and defend my line, so when he came past me he made a gap – same with Alex.

“It is not nice but that is how it was. I would rather ride around than let my ego get in the way and eat gravel in turn two. Not much I can say. I knew who it was of course. Michael has been doing a good job and it shows how strong the Ducati is, as even in yesterday’s race Melandri was there as well with a good pace and Rinaldi had a good pace in the race.

“It shows how strong this package is. I am not used to riding with Michael but he did a good job. He beat me so he has done a great job.”


Rea looks back to last year as he looks at how the rest of 2020 will may be, stating that “Last year after four rounds Alvaro showed no weakness. Yesterday I was not physically as good at the end of the race. I had a little bit of arm pump but finished one second behind.

“I have not had to fight. Last year for four races I could not even compete with Alvaro. So I have a lot more confidence this year after two races where we are not far. I see Scott beatable. Alvaro last year, for four races, I could not see any weakness.

“The bike was super fast, he wasn’t making mistakes, he was managing the race. So it was very frustrating. Aside from this race, where he (Redding) destroyed us, destroyed me, I have been there, close. I beat him in the Superpole race. Last year I did not have that breath of confidence at all. It is a different situation.”

Now 24 points behind new series leader Redding, but actually moving up to second place overall, Rea wants to overturn that disadvantage in points sometime soon as who knows how long the season will really go on for.


“It was a small miracle that the season of six rounds in short succession, and probably another sixth one as things stand, but it could all be stopped by outside forces at any time. Being in the lead when the music stops… is at least a possibility of how to win this year’s championship.

The racing is one thing, racing in the middle of a global pandemic is quite another, as Rea knows well. “What is worrying is that how the championship will be with Coronavirus – what happens with the world,” said Rea. “That is more important right now. What happens if the virus comes back and the championship ends early?

“It is important to try and lead the championship this year from as early as possible and stay in the front. When Coronavirus came I was crowning Alex World Champion because that was the reality. Now that we have the race it gives you a chance. But I feel that you need to lead this championship early because you never know what is going to happen.”

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