The 2021 title pendulum is literally in full swing, but there’s a statistical sub-plot this weekend: Jonathan Rea is aiming to become the first rider in WorldSBK history to win 13 races at one track.
Round five of the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is fast approaching as the Prosecco DOC Dutch Round readies to host the next instalment of the Championship battle. For the second consecutive occasion coming into the Netherlands, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) is second in the Championship and chases history too, aiming to become the first rider in World Superbike history to achieve 13 wins on any circuit, an outright record of a win tally at any given track. However, he faced this record in 2019 but couldn’t topple Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista; will he stop Toprak Razgatlioglu’s (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) momentum this weekend?
REA VS FOGGY: the battle of Assen supremacy
Rea’s success at Assen currently sees him level with fellow WorldSBK legend Carl Fogarty, as both have 12 wins to their names around the iconic Dutch venue. Both riders have won eight consecutive races at the track too, with Fogarty doing it in 1993 to 1996 and Rea equalling the record from Race 2 2014 to 2018’s Race 1, both impressing and doing it across two manufacturers (Fogarty on Ducati and Honda, Rea on Honda and Kawasaki).
So, how does Rea stack up against Fogarty in terms of other stats at Assen, given they’ve both won 12 races at the track, of which eight were consecutive and within that eight, there was a change of manufacturers. Well, there’s nothing to split them in terms of pole positions either, with two each, although Rea achieved his with both Honda and Kawasaki (2010 and 2017) whilst Foggy’s were only with Ducati (1993 and 1994).
In the fastest lap department, Fogarty has eight whilst Rea has five, but a hat-trick of fastest laps this weekend could see the Ulsterman level with the Lancastrian. The podiums are where the difference swings back to Rea however, as he has 18 whilst Fogarty has 15. Six front rows each round out what is a heavyweight dual between the two, but will it be a ‘lucky’ 13th victory for Rea this weekend?
How does it compare with other venues?
Nobody has ever won 13 times at any track in WorldSBK, although of the current calendar, Rea is within striking distance at some of the remaining circuits on this season’s calendar. Whilst Most and Navarra are both up next and both new, the following round is from Magny-Cours can see Rea enter double figures, as if he takes a hat-trick of wins, he’ll go onto 11 at the track. However, it is Portimao in Portugal where Rea has excelled in recent years, winning 12 of the last 14 races there, meaning he could also achieve 13 at the Portuguese venue too.
Commenting on the weekend ahead, Rea’s excited to go in pursuit of the Championship lead and the records that lie ahead: “I’m really happy to be returning to Assen after its absence last year. It is a really unique layout, a high-speed circuit with fast corners and quick changes of direction. I never got to ride the ‘real’ old Assen, but the modified version is, for me, incredible. One of the nicest and most flowing circuits on the calendar.
“I have great memories there and the fact that there will be lots of fans is a huge bonus because Assen and the fans go together perfectly! I had some nice battles there in 2019 and I am looking forward to more this year. I hope we can capitalise on it being a good circuit for me and the bike. The target is to win but we need to work smartly and calmly to put us in the best possible shape to compete come the races.”
Can Rea sparkle at Assen? Find out by watching all of the races LIVE with the WorldSBK VideoPass!