World Superbike Championship needs a MotoGP star, says Jonathan Rea

Reigning triple World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea says the series needs a "star" from MotoGP to step over to boost its popularity

World Superbike Championship needs a MotoGP star, says Jonathan Rea

WSBK has struggled in recent years to attract large crowds to events, despite changes to race formats and the technical regulations being made in a bid to make the series more exciting.

Sister Dorna-owned series MotoGP has enjoyed a halcyon period of popularity, with events reaching or getting close to sell-out status and television audience numbers also far greater than WSBK's.

Numerous names from grand prix racing have stepped over to WSBK in recent seasons, but no frontrunning premier class stars have made the switch since eventual double WSBK champion and 21-times MotoGP race winner Max Biaggi in 2007.

Rea - who has dominated WSBK with Kawasaki over the last three years with three titles and a record 63 victories - believes bringing a "star" rider from MotoGP to the series would "lift the public perception" of WSBK's talent.

"It's a cool championship," he said when asked how to improve WSBK's popularity following a dominant weekend at Misano.

"Sometimes all the best riders aren't always on the best bikes, and I feel like Superbikes is an amazing place to be.

"But it would be really nice to get some real star quality from MotoGP to come here. Not guys that are finishing their career or guys that have nothing left.

"Them guys, they can go somewhere else because there are better riders here than at the back of the MotoGP grid.

"We need a star from GP to come here, and I think that will then lift the public perception, 'wow, these guys are fast: [Eugene] Laverty, [Chaz] Davies, [Tom] Sykes, me'. Fast guys."

Adding that having a proven MotoGP winner such as Dani Pedrosa - whose future past 2018 remains uncertain - or Andrea Iannone in the series would be a "dream", Rea conceded whatever WSBK does it will always "play second-best" to MotoGP in terms of popularity.

"It would be incredible, it would give Superbikes more prestige to be honest," said Rea, who also mooted Honda bringing ex-Superbike rider Cal Crutchlow across to WSBK.

"There's hundreds of things that you could do, but of course we're always going to play second-best to MotoGP when you talk about fan interaction and prestige.

"MotoGP is the Formula 1 of the bike world and that's how it is."

shares
comments
Sepang-owned SIC team takes over Nieto's MotoGP entry for 2019

Previous article

Sepang-owned SIC team takes over Nieto's MotoGP entry for 2019

Next article

Valentino Rossi: Last Yamaha MotoGP victory feels 'a lifetime ago'

Valentino Rossi: Last Yamaha MotoGP victory feels 'a lifetime ago'
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Lewis Duncan
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Plus

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha’s rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Plus

How Yamaha’s rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021, having stormed to victory at a venue where he last year served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha’s factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend has revealed one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Plus

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return? Plus

Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Plus

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Plus

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021
Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike? Plus

Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike?

Against the expected run of play at Qatar's Losail circuit, both Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo carved through a resolute Ducati defence to secure back-to-back MotoGP wins for the Japanese marque. After a difficult 2020, it appears that Yamaha has swaggered back into championship contention

MotoGP
Apr 5, 2021
Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP Plus

Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP

Lightning hasn't struck twice for Maverick Vinales since 2017 and his wayward form of recent years makes predicting how he'll fare each MotoGP race weekend tricky. But fresh from his Qatar GP win, Vinales looks like an even more dangerous prospect for the Doha GP following an intriguing Friday practice

MotoGP
Apr 3, 2021