New World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea isn’t prepared to rest on his laurels as the Kawasaki rider aims to add to his haul of 12 victories this season at Magny-Cours this weekend.
Rea secured the title earlier this month at Jerez in Spain to become Northern Ireland’s first motorcycling world champion since 1986.
His brace of fourth place finishes on the Ninja ZX-10R brought Rea’s incredible run of podium finishes to an end, with the 28-year-old Ballyclare rider never finishing outside the top three in 20 races on his way to the title at Jerez.
Understandably, the Ulster rider’s priority in Spain was to avoid making any mistakes with the title uppermost in his mind, but with the pressure now eased, Rea intends to start ‘with a clean slate’ at the French circuit, where he has finished on the rostrum three times in the past, most recently in 2014 with a third place on the Pata Honda.
“To win the World Championship is a massive goal I have been waiting to achieve all my life and I have not really let my guard down too much since I did it,” Rea said.
“I was quite busy at the beginning of last week but since I got home I have been trying to treat each day as normal; to keep it in the back of my mind that we have to work hard for the next two races.
“We had a really amazing moment in winning the championship but we struggled a little bit in the races. First, we have to really understand the reason why we struggled so much at Jerez on Sunday, when on Saturday everything was fine,” he added.
“When we sit down to make a plan for this coming weekend and figure things out, we will be pretty clear in the direction we need to go. After that I just want to enjoy the races.
“I think in France we can start again with a clean slate and I see no reason why we cannot battle up at the front once again,” Rea said.
“I really want to bounce back after being off the podium in Jerez and fight at the front at Magny-Cours.”
Rea’s 12 wins combined with team-mate Tom Sykes’ four victories have helped Kawasaki secure its first WSBK manufacturer’s crown with two rounds to go.
Yorkshireman Sykes is still battling for the runner-up spot in the championship with Ducati rider Chaz Davies, who holds an advantage of 22 points over the 2013 world champion.
The series concludes with the Qatar night race at Losail on October 18.