'It's a real shame' but Jonathan Rea 'fully behind' decision to cancel Suzuka 8 Hours
Jonathan Rea says he ‘fully supports’ the decision to cancel this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance World Championship race in Japan for the second successive year.
The six-time World Superbike champion is a former two-time winner of the prestigious event and became the first British winner of the legendary race in 2012.
Postponed from its traditional July date until November 7 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers have taken the decision to axe the race altogether this year due to the ongoing ramifications of the health crisis, which has worsened in Japan over the past few weeks following the Tokyo Olympics.
Northern Ireland star Rea, who claimed his second Suzuka 8 Hours victory with Kawasaki in 2019, said it was a ‘real shame’ to miss the event again, but has praised the early decision not to proceed with plans for the race.
“It’s a real shame to miss out on the Suzuka 8 Hours because it is always a nice opportunity to meet all the top management from Kawasaki and all the Kawasaki fans from Asia that support us all year round,” said Rea.
“It is an incredible race from a mechanical point of view, a human point of view. Of course we have to follow all the safety protocols for the event, I fully stand by that and it is better to make that decision now than creeping up closer to the race. I hope to revisit Suzuka in the future.”
The 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours has been provisionally scheduled to take place on July 22.
Rea, meanwhile, will next be in action at Magny-Cours in France for round eight of the World Superbike Championship from September 3-5.
The 34-year-old is level on points with Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu at the top of the standings as he targets a seventh straight world crown with Kawasaki.