Jonathan Rea brands Donington double standard for WorldSBK fans 'comical'

Jonathan Rea says he is 'dumbfounded' the WorldSBK Championship will have limited spectators at Donington Park when a recent festival welcomed far more

Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK 2021

Jonathan Rea has hit out at the restrictions placed on fans wishing to attend the WorldSBK Championship at Donington Park this weekend in light of the same venue being given the green light to welcome substantially more for a festival earlier in the month.

The series visits the UK for Round 4 of the 2021 WorldSBK Championship season this weekend, the first to take place since 2019 after last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

However, after the latest plan to ease lockdown restrictions was pushed back, the decision was taken to limit spectators to 4,000 fans. This is in line with the restrictions currently enforced in the British Superbike Championship, run by MSVR who also own Donington Park.

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Even so, Donington Park itself has hosted more people recently at the Download music festival, where 10,000 more tightly-packed revellers attended as part of the UK Government’s pilot test for allowing large events to go ahead. 

Meanwhile, it has been announced the F1 British Grand Prix is planning to go ahead with a full capacity 140,000 spectators, which would make it the country’s biggest test yet with regards to gatherings since the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is a double standard that has left six-time WorldSBK Champion Rea ‘dumbfounded’, saying motorsport is suffering from a lack of spectators and pointing out having large numbers spread over a vast area is more logical than having more people in a stadium environment.

"I really don't understand who makes this up, it's comical," Rea told the BBC. "If you are dubbed a test event you can create your own rules, but we are where we are. You have to realise we are still not out of the woods in these Covid-19 times.

"Motorsport needs fans and we need to get back to some sort of normality. I feed off the atmosphere at tracks and I can't wait to get that feeling back," said Rea, who leads the 2021 championship before his home round.

"Donington Park has hundreds of acres of space where you could practice social distancing and fans to be apart from the bubble inside of the paddock. 

"I'm a fan of sport so it is really tough when you draw a line and say an event can have this but another can only have that. 

"You can't do that inside a stadium yet we are seeing packed grounds now. It is really strange. I'm happy for the fans who are allowed back and can go and cheer on their team, but it is frustrating for those who are missing out."