Jonathan Rea comes into the halfway mark of the 2010 SBK season far and away the top man for Honda in World Superbike. The Northern Ireland native sits third in the championship at present, but take away a couple bad rounds at Portimao and Monza and the Ten Kate rider could easily be atop the points standings. Rea already has a podium to his credit at Miller and will be competing at a track that saw a Ten Kate Honda take the double in 2008 at the hands of
Carlos Checa, a feat Rea aims to repeat, having taken the double already this season at Assen. We caught up with the Honda man to ask about the season so far and what to expect this weekend.
Third in the championship could you recap your season for us?
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda's Jonathan Rea scored the double at Assen and will be looking for another 50-point weekend at Miller this Monday.
Bit of a slow start really. Phillip Island steady away with a fourth and second and we podiumed. Then a mechanical at Portimao. Another fifth and sixth in Valencia with some trouble. A double win at Assen. A double DNF at Monza and then a third and fifth in the last round. So everytime we’re scoring were sort of inside the top-fve area and we just need to make sure we’re on the podium more often.
You’re third in the points, are you looking at the championship or just trying to win races?
You got to be looking at the championship. It’s not all over and out, so we’ll keep pushing that way and see what happens. It’s a long year, anything can happen.
How’s it been with Honda the past couple years? You feel comfortable on the CBR?
It’s been good. We have our ups and downs. But I think in this championship all the manufacturers they don’t stand still. Everybody’s racing, somebody comes up with something new. That’s what we got to keep doing… The start of last year was very difficult. This year we’ve managed to come out a little stronger in the beginning, but we need to be grabbing all the podiums.
You’re pretty much the top Honda man right now. Do you feel any extra pressure?
Ten Kate Honda's Jonathan Rea signing autographs at the Gateway rider meet and greet during Friday festivities at the Miller Motorsports Park SBK races.
Not really, no. My teammate (Max Neukirchner) he’s having a real nightmare at the minute. If I race just for top Honda honors I could be riding around in 15th. My goal is to win the championship, so I need to beat a lot more than just Hondas. But as for Honda, right after the first race at the Isle of Man I head to Japan for the 300km race, to represent HRC out there.
What about Miller? You’ve been here once before.
Yeah, fourth and a third last year, so I like the circuit. The bike works good here. Checa has always run good here.
He got a double in 2008. Think a double’s in the cards for you?
We’ll see. Tomorrow I hear it’s supposed to be wet. Who knows? We’ll just have to put our finger out and see what happens.
You’re from Northern Ireland. Are you a big fan of the road racing there?
Jonathan Rea celebrates his double-victory performance at the Dutch round - the highlight of an up and down season.
Well, I actually live on the Isle of Man now and I’m looking forward to going back to the Isle of Man TT races. I’m actually flying from here to back there. My good friend (Keith Amor) races, so I follow it quite well, but it’s not for me.
We were just at the North West 200.
My friend he actually won the Superstock race there. (Amor gave BMW its first ever NW200 victory aboard the S1000RR – read BMW Gets First North West 200 Win
What do you make of that racing. Are those guys heroes, or crazy, or what?
It’s a different kind of game, isn’t it? It’s a great spectacle. You’ve been. You’ve seen it. The rush of adrenaline is the same as a short circuit race but with more dangerous consequences if something goes wrong.
Rea will look to make up his 81-point gap on the points leader, Leon Haslam, during the Memorial Day SBK doubleheader at Miller Motorsports Park. Keep checking back with Motorcycle USA for racing updates throughout the weekend.