Having eclipsed Superbike legend Carl Fogarty’s total of four WSBK titles when he raced to his fifth crown last season, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) re-wrote the record books once again in 2020 by making it six consecutive championships – although early on it looked as though this could finally be the year that his vice-like grip was forced from the champion’s trophy.
After the thirty-three-year-old crashed out of the opening race at Australia’s Phillip Island in March, his rivals – having queued up behind him for the last five years – sensed a very rare opportunity to end his relentless reign.
Rea, however, has not become the greatest rider in Superbike history by succumbing to pressure – no matter how intense – and following an enforced lay-off due to COVID-19 he was back on the pace at round two at Jerez in Spain at the beginning of August before moving into the series lead one week later with a devastating double win in Portugal.
More race wins followed in successive Spanish rounds at Aragon, Teruel and Barcelona and these – combined with the points from his Superpole wins at the first four rounds – gave Rea a virtually unassailable fifty-nine-point lead over Britain’s Scott Redding (Ducati) following round seven at Magny-Cours in France.
At the final round at Estoril in Portugal in mid-October, Rea knew that a record sixth-straight title was his for the taking and he duly took care of business to retain the crown by fifty-five points from Redding with Chaz Davies (Ducati) completing an all-British medal table a further thirty-two points behind.
FIM Superbike World Champion: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020