WSBK: Rea prepares for first shot at record third title in France

Jonathan Rea could secure an unprecedented third successive World Superbike title on Saturday at Magny-Cours in France.
Jonathan Rea could secure an unprecedented third successive World Superbike title on Saturday at Magny-Cours in France.

Jonathan Rea stands on the cusp of making World Superbike history this weekend at Magny-Cours in France, when the Kawasaki rider says he remains as focused as ever on winning races.

Reigning champion Rea could become the first rider ever to win the title in three consecutive years in race one on Saturday (12:00 BST), if he manages to gain a further five points on his KRT team-mate Tom Sykes.

The 30-year-old holds an advantage of 120 points over the Yorkshireman and took a massive step towards retaining his crown at Portimao in Portugal, chalking up his fourth double of the season after Sykes was dealt a hammer blow when he was ruled out of both races through injury.

With only three rounds and six races remaining in 2017, a solid weekend in France will be enough to see Rea write his name into the record books.

However, despite his status as the overwhelming title favourite, Rea says he intends to ‘put the championship out of my mind’ until the title is safely sewn up.

“This weekend is the first opportunity we have to try to win the 2017 World Superbike Championship,” he said.

“I want to put that out of my mind for now and go and do my best in both races. I’m confident with how the ZX-10RR is now, and that we can go and fight for race wins.

“I’m excited for this weekend, especially after such a strong weekend in Portimao where we remained for a day of testing after the race. We found some positives that we can perhaps implement this weekend to give me some extra confidence on corner entry,” added the Ulster rider.

“Magny-Cours is a great circuit and one that I’ve been strong at in the past. The circuit itself requires a little compromise when setting up the bike and we will also have to keep in mind the weather, as at this time of the year anything can happen.”

Rea was a double winner at the French circuit in 2015 during his first season with Kawasaki and he finished on the podium as the runner-up last year in race two, when Welshman Chaz Davies notched a double on the Aruba.it Ducati.

Magny-Cours hosts the 11th round of the championship, with the remaining two rounds afterwards taking place at Jerez in Spain in October, culminating in the finale at the Losail International Circuit from November 2-4.