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Jonathan Rea crowned 2019 WorldSBK Champion for a historic fifth time

Kawasaki Racing's Jonathan Rea clinches the 2019 World Superbike Championship (WorldSBK) for a record-breaking fifth consecutive season at Magny-Cours

Jonathan Rea has clinched his fifth World Superbike Championship title after victory in race two at Magny-Cours put him clear enough in the overall standings over Alvaro Bautista to win the 2019 WorldSBK title.

Coming into the race 100 points clear of Bautista, Rea needed nothing less than a victory and hope Bautista failed to score in order to wrap up the title with two rounds remaining, but that is exactly what happened when the Spaniard was caught up in an accident with Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Prompted when Razgatlioglu – having just overtaken Bautista at Turn 13 – got loose on the exit, slowing him enough that the close following Ducati man had nowhere to go but into the rear of the Kawasaki, both came down and were eliminated.

Paving the way for Rea to fight for the win and the title, he prevailed in an intense fight with Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark to get the 25 points he required. Click here to read Race 2 Report & Results

His 12th win of the 2019 WorldSBK season, it makes Rea the first rider in World Superbike history to win five titles, surpassing the previous record he shared with Carl Fogarty.

One of the greatest comebacks in WorldSBK history

Rea’s championship win comes in a season few expected him to make it five-in-a-row after Bautista powered to 11 consecutive victories out of the box, at one stage opening up a huge 64-point lead.

However, Rea’s consistency behind him – he finished second in all but one of those 11 races – played a huge role in overhauling Bautista when the Spaniard endured a dismal run of mid-season form that included six non-scores in nine races.

Allowing Rea an 81-point advantage heading into the summer break, Rea proved similarly difficult to beat on the resumption of action in Portugal and then France. Putting him in a position where he would be classified as the champion-elect, it was nonetheless in Argentina where many expected him to clinch it.

Jonathan Rea and a record-breaking fifth WorldSBK title

Five seasons with Kawasaki, five WorldSBK titles, Rea goes clear in the all-time rankings to lay down a firm marker for status of ‘Greatest Superbike rider of all time’.

Though the decision to swell the race weekend to three races does muddle the all-time statistics – especially as there are also more events in a season when Fogarty raced – it’s hard to dispute Rea’s records on paper.

In 273 races, Rea has 161 podiums, 22 poles and 82 races wins, a CV that looks more impressive when you consider he spent six seasons the tricky Honda package around half of the races he has started with Kawasaki.

To Kawasaki’s credit, this is also the first time a manufacturer has won five world titles in a row. It rises the firm’s total to seven riders’ titles, firming up its second position in the all-time rankings, albeit well behind Ducati of 14 riders’ titles.

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