WorldSBK

Jonathan Rea: I don’t really care about the championship right now

Jonathan Rea says he has no thoughts on the 2020 WorldSBK Championship right now as he expects no racing will now take place until July at the earliest

Jonathan Rea says he doesn’t expect to be back out on track in the WorldSBK Championship until July at the earliest and suggests the full 2020 season to be significantly condensed as a result.

The Ulsterman went into the season chasing a sixth consecutive WorldSBK title with Kawasaki but after completing in the opening round in Australia, no further events have been able to take place due to the coronavirus.

As it stands, rounds two and three in Qatar and Jerez have been rescheduled to the back end of the year, but it is anticipated the following events in Assen, Imola, Aragon, Misano and possibly Donington Park could also be cancelled or postponed.

However, WorldSBK riders – just as those in MotoGP – have been sympathetic to the cause of fighting the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 11,000 people around the world, including greater than 5,000 people in Italy where a large majority of teams, riders and personnel in WorldSBK are based.

With this in mind, Rea says the WorldSBK Championship is secondary right now and he’ll follow the necessary precautions and delays needed to ensure it is safe to return in due course.

"I don't really care about the championship - I care about people getting healthy again and relieving stress on hospitals," he told BBC NI. "What's important is we get a handle on it and supporting each other."

“It's really strange, we should race in Assen and that hasn't been officially postponed yet but I think they are trying to rapidly match the calendar together. What's clear is that this virus isn't under control so world travel is compromised and that means sport is compromised, but in reality its such a small part of the bigger problem.

When will the 2020 WorldSBK season restart?

What confuses matters slightly for WorldSBK when it comes to rearranging events is that it has to also take into account when MotoGP occurs because Dorna and the FIM will want to limit the number of clashes on schedule, both in terms of TV and even geographically.

Though WorldSBK’s 13 events – one of which has been completed – means it has more room to shuffle things around than MotoGP, the premier class will get first refusal on available dates, potentially leaving limited options for the Superbike series.

As such, Rea intimates that the eventual 2020 season will not run to the full number of events in an effort to simply get this year done in some capacity and restart in 2021.

"I'm sure we'll be at a standstill for the next 8-12 weeks and maybe into July we may start thinking about a calendar.

"What's clear is that the organisers really want to get a championship finished and it may not be the full 13-round series that they set out for but they are trying their best to get it done.

"I'm chomping at the bit to get back on my bike, I really miss it, I miss my team - I miss everybody. But that's not important right now.”

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