Why Chaz Davies WorldSBK retirement was a ‘strange feeling’ for Jonathan Rea

Jonathan Rea admits the decision by Chaz Davies to retire from motorcycle racing did make him consider how he will exit WorldSBK in future

Chaz Davies, Jonathan Rea


Jonathan Rea has revealed he was triggered into thinking about retiring from motorcycle racing as a result of close WorldSBK rival Chaz Davies confirming he would call time on his career at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

Davies was consistently the closest rival Rea battled against during his run of WorldSBK title victories, the Welshman winning 34 races during his career but finishing runner-up to the Kawasaki man on three occasions.

With Davies hanging up his leathers at the end of the 2021 WorldSBK season after losing his ride with the factory Ducati team and enduring a series of injuries, Rea admits his exit caused him to turn his focus towards his own plans for retirement.

Though Rea - who has competed in WorldSBK since 2009 - ponders whether he will recognise the right moment when it comes, he says he is making no plans to step away from the sport in the meantime.

 “At this stage of my career, I feel like motivation is at an all-time high. I don’t need to ride on the limit… all I wanted to be as a child was a World Champion and I did that in 2015. 

“Right now, I’m motivated just by winning, pushing my bike to its limits, beating my rivals, but I also get a lot of enjoyment from travelling to new places and working hard with my team in the background. 

“I don’t know when it’ll stop… what was a strange feeling for me this year was when Chaz retired. He’s been my career rivals and I almost wanted to go to Chaz and say, ‘hey man, is this something that creeps up season-by-season or race-by-race or does it just arrive one day and that’s it’ because I know my time’s going to come but I want to finish my way.

“That’s what I want… that’s how I see things. As a motorcycle racer, that never happens, but I must say that the feeling isn’t around right now. It’s about winning, trying to do my best at Kawasaki and enjoying it too; it’s a lot of hard efforts in the off-season and for me at home. 

“Also, for the team and the schedule, it’s a busy Championship. If you’re not enjoying it, then it’d be the perfect time to step away but when there’s the possibility to win and you’re having fun, I’ll be lining up on the grid for sure.”