Jonathan Rea has revealed his first holidays were at racetracks rather than beaches, which ignited his love for motorbikes.
The six-time World Superbike champion will continue his search for a record-extending seventh title on home soil as the Superbike World Championship (WSBK) returns to Donington Park, with a full crowd for the first time in three years this weekend.
Rea is currently second in the standings, trailing Alvaro Bautista by 36 points in a dramatic season, with defending champion Toprak Razgatlioglu a further 43 points behind in third.
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“My father was a racer, a successful one at that,” said Rea in the latest episode of The Power of Sport, which is available to watch on Eurosport, discovery+ and Eurosport’s digital platforms.
“My first holidays weren’t to the beach. They were to racetracks. I was dragged along to watch my dad race and it was infectious. So very soon after that I just wanted to ride a motorbike.
“When I started road racing in 2003, actually, it came very naturally. I loved the search for the perfect lap.
“Step-by-step my career improved. I was in the World Championship within five years and I’ve been here ever since so it has been a great journey.”
Rea made his WSBK debut at the end of 2008 and has shown no signs of slowing down 14 years later.
His experience at the head of the field is unmatched and he’s looking forward to putting on a show again, having done the treble at Donington Park in 2019.
“It's really difficult to describe what we do,” explained Rea. “From the outside, sometimes it looks like a PlayStation game.
"Riders are sat on a motorcycle and we're turning the handlebars, but in reality, we're riding a 220-plus horsepower motorcycle, 170kg accelerating from 50-60mph in the slowest corner to 210mph on the fastest straight.
“In the search for the perfect lap, every single lap within tenths of a second is really tough. It's a real athlete sport. Everyone here in the world championship is incredibly fit.
“It really is man and machine. the rider has such a big influence on the bike, but you also need the bike to be working perfectly well.”
Rea is the most successful rider in the championship’s history with the most titles, wins, fastest laps and podiums.
Despite breaking multiple records, Rea’s motivation is still high and the 35-year-old admits it’s tough to stay at the top of the sport and to consistently stand on the top step of the podium.
“I think I was the only three-time winner,” said Rea. “Then I won it six times in a row. I know how hard it is to win. it doesn't get easier with more and more competition on the grid.
“Winning a title is tough, but winning again is even tougher. So that's a great challenge we have in front of us and one that I'm really excited about.”
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The latest episode of The Power of Sport is available to watch on Eurosport, discovery+ and Eurosport’s digital platforms.
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