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'
The other Suzuki signing that could transform Honda's MotoGP form Plus

The other Suzuki signing that could transform Honda's MotoGP form

Following Suzuki's decision to quit MotoGP, both of its former riders have landed at Honda for 2023. But perhaps its biggest signing from the now-defunct team could instead be a highly-rated technical manager. Is Ken Kawauchi the right man at the right time to steer HRC back to glory?

MotoGP
Jan 26, 2023
How the MotoGP paddock has offered refuge to Suzuki's former team Plus

How the MotoGP paddock has offered refuge to Suzuki's former team

Suzuki's unexpected departure left more than 40 professionals virtually jobless for the 2023 MotoGP season. But that human drama has been successfully corrected by the paddock itself, with most former Suzuki crew-members absorbed into other operations

MotoGP
Jan 14, 2023
How one MotoGP team went from title fights to losing it all in four years Plus

How one MotoGP team went from title fights to losing it all in four years

The Petronas Sepang Racing Team came into MotoGP with a bang in 2019 as regular front-runners, with wonder rookie Fabio Quartararo mounting a title challenge in 2020. But it all went wrong for the Razlan Razali-helmed squad as the team changed hands and tumbled down the order - and RNF Racing plans to right this in 2023

MotoGP
Jan 3, 2023
Is MotoGP's comeback king ready to reclaim his throne? Plus

Is MotoGP's comeback king ready to reclaim his throne?

Marc Marquez’s sixth premier MotoGP title seems a long time ago given the injury woes he has faced in the three years since. At the end of a fraught 2022, in which he had a fourth major operation on his right arm, the Spaniard speaks exclusively to Autosport

MotoGP
Dec 23, 2022
How MotoGP’s underachiever is working to reverse its fortunes in 2023 Plus

How MotoGP’s underachiever is working to reverse its fortunes in 2023

As European manufacturers emerged as the strongest force in 2022 in a changing of the guard for MotoGP, one powerhouse couldn’t quite match the feats of Ducati and Aprilia. Its motorsport chief tells Autosport why this is and what it is doing to become a consistent frontrunner in the class of kings

MotoGP
Dec 20, 2022
How MotoGP riders are preparing for the physical stress of sprint races Plus

How MotoGP riders are preparing for the physical stress of sprint races

With the expansion of the calendar to 21 grands prix and the introduction of sprint races, the 2023 MotoGP season will take the riders to almost 1,300 kilometres of competition more than this year, a factor that forces adjustments in their physical preparations.

MotoGP
Dec 9, 2022
The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend Plus

The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend

Surname pressure is something many have had to deal with in their motorsport careers. And while Luca Marini doesn’t have that, his familial relation and the team he rides for in MotoGP have cast a brighter spotlight on his progress. But, as he has shown in 2022 – and as he reveals to Autosport – Marini is so much more than just the brother of a legend

MotoGP
Dec 6, 2022
Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022 Plus

Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022

The 2022 MotoGP season was another hotly contested championship, with Francesco Bagnaia emerging as the title winner after the campaign went to the wire. Autosport picks out the 10 best performers of the season

MotoGP
Nov 29, 2022