Peerless Jonathan Rea clinches a SIXTH WorldSBK Championship title

Not even COVID-19, not even a Superpole crash can stop Jonathan Rea smashing more records as he wraps up a sixth WorldSBK title

Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team

Jonathan Rea has consolidated his status as the most successful WorldSBK Championship rider of all-time by successfully wrapping his sixth title when sole remaining rival Scott Redding was unable to finish the first race of the 2020 finale weekend in Estoril.

The Kawasaki rider came into the race needing only three points - the equivalent of a 13th place finish - regardless of where his sole remaining rival Scott Redding finished, but while he gave himself some work to do by starting 15th after a crash in Superpole, it couldn’t halt the perceived inevitable.

Indeed, though Rea may have been on the back foot after qualifying, remarkably Redding fared worse after his own crash in the morning session placed him last. However, while Rea was quickly making progress up the order to run third by lap four, Redding's progress was far steadier even before he pulled over on lap seven with technical issues.

The overall result may have looked familiar but it has been an anything-but-regular season for Rea and his WorldSBK counterparts, with five months splitting the opening round in Australia at the top of the year with the resumption of action in July.

Indeed, the coronavirus played its part by compacting the season down from 13 rounds to only eight, while two of those were held at the same circuit (Motorland Aragon).

In fact, it was there where Rea ultimately began to get the jump on Redding having been forced to duke it out with this new pretender to his throne in the early rounds.

The story of Jonathan Rea's 2020 WorldSBK title sprint

An uncharacteristic crash for Rea in Phillip Island left him playing initial catch up, but while Redding had the edge on consistency initially to lead Rea after round two in Jerez, the pendulum of momentum would shift back to the Kawasaki rider.

When Redding’s form began to scatter graph, Rea dug in with some metronomic consistency to the extent that he has won at least one race at every round this year. It meant that even on the days Redding could beat Rea, the Kawasaki man was usually right behind him nonetheless.

Another marvellous display by Rea as rivals are left scratching their head to wonder just how they could possibly break his stronghold, though Redding has at times forced his rival to discover another level, there is little doubt Rea’s unfailing adaptability has once again been the bedrock of his success.

There is still more to play for this weekend - Rea’s has already added 11 wins alone to his tally this year, but one more will see him hit a full century. While the move to three races a weekend skews the overall stats, he still stands well clear of the next best rider - Carl Fogarty - on 59 wins.

Can anyone defeat Rea in 2021? Well, Redding will take a huge amount of knowledge into next season when - hopefully - we will be getting a full calendar to play with, while Rea’s ultra consistency could in theory be harmed by the proposed introduction of a brand-new Kawasaki ZX-10R, which always poses a risk when it comes to reliability and performance.

For now though, Rea can celebrate the fact that even COVID-19 can’t stop his dominance of the modern WorldSBK era.