Gino Rea on choosing EWC over BSB, Christian Iddon to Suzuki?

Gino Rea reveals why he chose factory Honda opportunity in the Endurance World Championship over BSB; Christian Iddon tipped to replace him on Suzuki

Christian Iddon, Gino Rea [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]

Gino Rea says the offer of progressing to a factory team was pivotal in his decision to switch to the Endurance World Championship with Honda rather than staying in the British Superbike Championship (BSB) for 2022.

The British rider will link up with the French factory-backed TSR Honda team in the EWC alongside Mike di Meglio and Josh Hook as part of a fresh attempt to bring the manufacturer its first endurance title since the 2017-18 season.

However, it means he is stepping away from BSB despite a strong campaign in 2021 with the Buildbase Suzuki team that, though compromised by the GSX-R1000s age and reliability issues, delivered his first victories with a pair of wins in the wet at Donington Park.

Revealing there were talks to continue in BSB for 2022, though 2009 European Superstock 600 Champion Rea admits it is ‘difficult’ to be exiting just as he was hitting his stride, the opportunity to be factory-associated for the first time couldn’t be overlooked.  

“It has been difficult but the decision wasn’t that hard because of the offer from Honda to join TSR. 

“The BSB started to go really well towards the second half of the season, I got my first wins and that put me on the radar for next year and there were discussions about staying in BSB but when Mr Fuji-san of Honda approached me, I couldn’t turn it down, it’s the first factory ride of my career.

“To ride in the Endurance World Championship, it’s a great championship, growing every year and a lot of factories are fighting to be the best there. Now Honda want to win again, so I feel excited and honoured to be part of their project. 

“In one way it is difficult to leave BSB when I was having such a good time and I was starting to hit my stride but on the other hand, I have always been interested in EWC and there is no better time than to take a ride with Honda.”

Who will replace Gino Rea at Suzuki for 2022 BSB?

Buildbase Suzuki - together with PBM VisionTrack Ducati - is one of only two factory-supported teams yet to confirm their riders for the 2022 BSB season.

The delay in announcing is thought to be attributed to the availability of Christian Iddon, who it is understood has been offered a seat but is still awaiting news of whether he will be retained by VisionTrack Ducati.

At the heart of this outcome appears to be whether Tom Sykes accepts a reported offer to join VisionTrack Ducati from WorldSBK, or whether PBM stretches to running three Ducati Panigale V4 Rs this season.

If Iddon was to be frozen out in favour of Sykes, it would be a bitter outcome for the 37-year old, who has established himself as regular race winner since joining the team in 2020 and who comfortably out-performed double champion Josh Brookes last season.

However, it is more than likely Brookes’ seat in the team is contractually assured, unlike Iddon’s. 

He recently posted on social media that suggested he is still playing a waiting game, writing ‘is it time to step out the garage and get back on the horse yet? Just gotta find the horse first’.

As for Suzuki’s second rider, Rea’s team-mate Danny Kent was showing great promise in his first season of BSB before suffering a season-ending broken hip at Round 5. He is yet to communicate his plans for the year, suggesting he could be retained.