Jonathan Rea: 'There's a naivety it'll not happen to you'
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Jonathan Rea: 'There's a naivety it'll not happen to you'
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Jonathan Rea in pensive mood after walking off the podium following one of his two wins at Estoril last week

Jonathan Rea: 'There's a naivety it'll not happen to you'  

Superbike champion talks about dealing with motorcycling deaths

Northern Ireland's six-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has admitted that he tends not to dwell on the reality of deaths and serious injuries in motorcycle racing.

The 34-year-old dedicated his wins at last week's World Superbike round at Estoril to the family of 19-year-old Swiss Moto3 rider Jason Dupasquier who died after a crash at Mugello in Italy.

"Things can go wrong but it's something I really park. I've never thought about it too much. I think there's a naivety that it'll not happen to you," he said.

"I don't like dwelling on it too much."

Dupasquier died in hospital from injuries he sustained in a three-bike crash during a qualifying session in Italy last weekend.

The teenager was struck by another bike after falling and slid along the track at the Italian circuit.

"I think our sport is as safe as it can be right now with the quality of helmets and leathers but if you crash and another bike collects you and you get a head injury, it's very hard to survive that," Rea told BBC Radio Ulster's new Sportsound Meets... programme, in which is the guest on Saturday.

"I never met Jason but anyone who rides a bike, MotoGP, World Superbike, whatever it is, we are like a band of brothers."

'I can't see me riding into my late 30s'

Rea has begun his bid for a seventh straight world crown in impressive fashion, building up a 35-point lead over his nearest challenger, Turkey's Toprak Razgatlioglu, after winning four races over the opening two rounds of the series.

"My 2021 campaign is on target but we need to keep focused," explained the Kawasaki rider.

"It's a whole combination - the bike, the team, race management, tyre management, but also myself mentally. Everything is good for me off the circuit.

"The young guns are coming through - they know what they're doing and they understand what I'm doing and they're implementing that and getting close.

"I'm 34 now and I have a contract for next year but I can't see me riding into my late 30s.

"The time hasn't come [to retire] yet. I'm in the best moments of my career with my riding and the team is incredible.

"I still love the travel and being at the tracks but there will come a time where I want to be pitchside at a football match watching my two sons or at a motocross track or doing normal things.

"That time is creeping up but for the moment I'm so excited by winning."

MotoGP 'the last bit missing'

While Rea has torn up the record books in World Superbikes, he concedes that never having had the opportunity to compete in MotoGP is "the last bit missing" from his distinguished career.

"It's a shame really," he said. "I'd like to measure myself there but I think that ship has sailed.

"If I haven't had the opportunity as a six-time world champion then I don't think I'm ever going to get it.

"You see some riders coming from MotoGP to World Superbikes but not many going in the other direction on competitive packages.

"From the point of view of harmony in my life the 13-race schedule of World Superbikes is much less demanding and you can take the family there, enjoy the weekends, and I don't feel the pressure so much.

"MotoGP feels a bit more of a business, 21 rounds a year, so you would lose all that and I'd think you'd start to lose the concept of reality as well.

"There's a big price to be paid and some days you just like taking your kids to school.

"But you never say never. If the opportunity did arise I feel I'm still in my prime and could do a very good job."

You can listen to the full interview with Jonathan Rea on BBC Radio Ulster's 'Sportsound Meets...' available on BBC Sounds.

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05-06-2021, 12:30 PM
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