Another WorldSBK record for Rea as he exceeds Haga’s longest winning career

Monday, 23 May 2022 04:52 GMT

The Estoril Round was a history-making round for Rea as he broke the record for longest winning career in WorldSBK


Six-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) is used to breaking records in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and the 2022 Estoril Round at the Circuito Estoril was no exception for the Ulsterman. Victory in the Tissot Superpole Race on Sunday ensured he now holds the record for the longest time between his first and latest win in WorldSBK.

While Rea holds plenty of WorldSBK milestones, a new one often appears to be in his grasp and this was the case at the Estoril Round when he had the chance to tie, or break, Noriyuki Haga’s record for the longest winning career.  The existing record had been set by Haga between Race 2 at Sugo in 1997 and Race 2 at the Nurburgring in 2010, a winning career that spanned 12 years and 11 months exactly.

Ahead of the Estoril Round, Rea was asked about this record and said: “Nori Haga, what a WorldSBK legend! So, if I win this weekend, that's the stat? Wow, what a stat. But that's irrelevant. I hope I can win another race in the rest of the year, that's a possibility with a great team around me. But the focus is just being competitive. Get that race win out of my head. But if I do get that stat, remind me, because Haga was a childhood hero of mine and what a great ambassador for WorldSBK.”

Rea claimed an incredible last-lap victory in Sunday’s Tissot Superpole Race after a mistake from Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) to break the record by a single day, with a span of 12 years, 11 months and one day. Having joined WorldSBK in 2008, Rea claimed his first victory at Misano in 2009, in Race 2, with his latest coming in Race 2 at Estoril this year; although the Superpole Race is the one that put him ahead of Haga.

The longest winning career record was not the only milestone Rea hit during the Estoril Round as he became only the second rider to record 350 starts in WorldSBK in Race 2 in Portugal. This moved him one ahead of Tom Sykes, on 349 starts, and 27 behind Troy Corser who sits top of the all-time list at 377.

After taking the record for longest winning career, Rea said: “You make me feel really old by saying that! I did start this Championship when I was 20 years old, in WorldSSP. It’s given me many, many happy memories. I’ve worked with some incredible people. Technicians, mechanics and they’ve become friends. I feel really at home here and looking forward to making many more race starts and trying my best to claim as many more wins as possible. Savour this moment and look forward to Misano in a few weeks.”

There could be another milestone on the cards for Rea at his home round at Donington Park in mid-July. A win at the UK Round, or later in the season, will mean Rea would become the first rider to have a winning career, in WorldSBK to span more than 13 years.

10 longest winning careers in WorldSBK

1. Jonathan Rea – 12 years, 11 months, 1 day (Misano Race 2, 2009 to Estoril Race 2, 2022)

2. Noriyuki Haga – 12 years, 11 months (Sugo Race 2, 1997 to Nurburgring Race 2, 2010)

3. Troy Corser – 10 years, 7 months, 24 days (Salzburgring Race 2, 1995 to Phillip Island Race 1, 2006)

4. Pierfrancesco Chili – 8 years, 10 months (Monza Race 2, 1995 to Misano Race 2, 2004)

5. Troy Bayliss – 8 years, 4 months, 29 days (Hockenheim Race 1, 2000 to Portimao Race 2, 2008)

6. Chaz Davies – 8 years, 1 month, 9 days (Nurburgring Race 2, 2012 to Estoril Race 2, 2020)

7. Carl Fogarty – 7 years, 4 months, 23 days (Donington Race 2, 1992 to Hockenheim Race 1, 1999)

8. Marco Melandri – 6 years, 10 months, 29 days (Donington Race 1, 2011 to Phillip Island Race 2, 2018)

9. Ruben Xaus – 6 years, 9 months, 27 days (Oschersleben Race 2, 2001 to Misano Race 2, 2008)

10. Tom Sykes – 6 years, 7 months, 18 days (Nurburgring Race 2, 2011 to Assen Race 2, 2018)

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