Jonathan Rea says he is praying for a new Kawasaki World Superbike base model for the 2021 season that will help him to keep up with the championship’s newer machinery.
The rider is currently on a Kawasaki ZX-10RR which came in back in the 2017 WSBK season and apart from its re-homologation in the 2019 season, the bike has been receiving very minor upgrades ever since.
On the other hand, BMW and Ducatti presented new bikes for the 2019 season, the Ducatti Paningale V4-R and the BMW S1000RR respectively as Honda brought the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade in the 2020 season, Yamaha made a very major update on their YZF-R1. BMW also recently announced their new BMW M1000RR which is an upgraded special variant of the S1000RR and it will debut in the 2021 season.
Jonathan Rea said that there was room to improve the ZX-10RR though the bike package was giving its best in terms of performance, but the 5-time champion and the 2020 championship leader did not hesitate to say that he fears the current Corona virus global pandemic will hamper Kawasaki’s commitment to build a new bike. Asked on whether he felt like he needed another Kawasaki base model for the 2021 season, Rea said,”I’m praying every night for that…That would be the best Christmas present I could ever imagine.”
“In the current climate with what we’re going through right now in the world, I don’t know what’s going to happen, so I cross my fingers, but it’s out of my hands, It’s a Japanese decision, so let’s see.”
Jonathan Rea was also asked on what else he would be looking for in a new bike besides horsepower, he added “We need to improve the chassis a little bit, especially the rear of the bike and how it transfers [its weight] on to the rear.
“In stop-and-go circuits like Magny-Cours and Thailand, with these corners where you’re at zero and then going, the Kawasaki is working really well. But in all long corners where we need to transfer to the rear to be smooth, we’re struggling a little bit.
“That’s the main focus of development for the winter into next year. It’s very hard to chase that feeling during a race weekend, that’s the target for the off-season.”
Rea currently holds the top championship position with 290 points having a 51-point lead over Ducatti’s Scott Redding who is second in the championship with 239 points as the 2020 WorldSBK Season having only two more rounds to go. The 33-year old had his 9th win of the year during the Barcelona WSBK, which was the first ever superbike race on the Catalunya track. He also went ahead to commend the bike saying that it had the smallest margin for error compared to the other bikes, this was following the second race of the 2020 WSBK season where he ranked fourth behind Chaz Davies(Ducatti Aruba.IT), Michael van der Mark(Crescent Racing) and Garett Gerloff(Yamaha junior WSBK).
“When the stars align I can win, but it’s really easy to see from racing that when others make a mistake on the lap, they can keep the laptime, I get penalised quite a lot if I run wide. It has a real knock-on effect on the lap.” Rea said.