Jonathan Rea vs Scott Redding vs Miracles for the 2020 WorldSBK title

Jonathan Rea needs three points from a maximum of 62 available to seal a sixth WorldSBK Championship over Scott Redding in Estoril this weekend

Jonathan Rea, Scott Redding

Jonathan Rea stands on the cusp of history as he prepares to secure the last remaining digits he needs to be crowned WorldSBK Champion for a record sixth successive time.

The Ulsterman very nearly got the job done last time out at Magny-Cours, but a change of fortunes in the final race allowed his sole remaining challenger Redding to claw back enough of the ground to take it to the last event in Estoril.

The first time WorldSBK has visited the Portuguese circuit since 1993, it presents a fresh challenge and adds a layer of mystery to this decider.

However, while there have been occasions where riders have come from behind into the final round - Ben Spies over Nori Haga in 2009 and Sylvain Guintoli over Tom Sykes in 2014 - no rider has bridged a margin as vast as the 59 points the Kawasaki rider has over his Ducati rival.

As it stands, Rea needs a mere 13th place finish in race one to seal the title and even if by chance he finished lower or not at all, Redding would still need to win. Then of course, there would be two more races to get it finalised.

“I have already raced on the Estoril Circuit but more than 10 years have passed,” Redding. “I remember it wasn't exactly my favourite circuit even if I finished very close to the podium. The weather conditions should be much better than what we found at Magny-Cours. 

“It is the last race of the championship and I will continue to fight until the end. It has been a great season, we have learned a lot and we will try to have a great weekend.”

Jonathan Rea stands on cusp of history - again

Having broken nearly every erstwhile WorldSBK record going, Rea is now setting new benchmarks for himself, not least his victory tally.

In fact, should he win race one it would fittingly represent his 100th victory, in turn sealing a sixth WorldSBK title.

“It is super-exciting going into the final round with a championship to play for after what has been a very strange year with only eight rounds. Going into the last round with an advantage in the standings is really positive. 

“Estoril is a new track for us so I am really excited to learn it. It is always a good challenge and I feel that with the Ninja ZX-10RR we always arrive in new circuits with a strong base. Friday will be about learning the track, working out our potential and remaining calm. Because it is a new track I am sure we will find some challenges but the layout looks like it should suit us. 

“We will try to build the package to fight for the podiums in all races, which is the target. It has been a strange season under this new working environment and this is our last opportunity to go racing this year. I hear we may have some fans back again at this round, like we did in France, which was super-nice.”

This weekend is also set to see the current generation Kawasaki ZX-10RR ‘retired’ ahead of a new model which is expected to be revealed next month.