Jonathan Rea says racing # 65 on his bike on a lap in Indonesia brought back memories of his “life-changing” freshman year with Kawasaki in the World Superbike Championship.
Rea retained his favorite bike number 65 when he transitioned from the struggling Honda team to Kawasaki in 2015, starting a period of unprecedented success that would net a record six titles in consecutive years.
Choosing to use the number 1 after each of his league successes, Rea last competed in a WSBK event with the number 65 on his bike nearly six years so far in the 2015 season finale at the Qatar.
However, after losing a titanic battle for the riders’ title to Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu last weekend in Indonesia, Rea ditched the No.1 sticker on the front of his ZX-10RR for his favorite No.65. on the pit lane in Race 2.
This will become Rea’s new bike number in 2022, having ceded the right to use the number 1 to new champion Razgatlioglu.
When asked how it felt to see No.65 on his bike again, Rea said, “So refreshing, honestly.
“I told the guys in the middle of the days after I lost [the title], ‘we haven’t prepared anything, do you have an old # 65 from 2015?’. They said ‘no’.
“So they did that, I don’t know how they did it, but they must have had red Motocard stickers [merchandise website], and they did this # 65.
“When I saw him on the bike it reminded me of joining Kawasaki and the change it made in my life. It was really happy and motivating times, winning my first championship.
“I am delighted to be using it next year. I hope I will only have to use it for a year. But that’s a cool number. “
Jonathan Réa, Kawasaki
Razgatlioglu has expressed his intention to race No.1 on his Yamaha next year, having used No.54 as his motorcycle number since his WSBK debut in 2018 with Puccetti Kawasaki out of deference to his manager and mentor Kenan Sofuoglu.
Before Rea, Sylvain Guintoli was the last rider to compete in the WSBK with the # 1 on his motorcycle, sporting the number reserved for the defending champion on his Honda in 2015 after winning the title the previous year with Aprilia.
“I have to talk to Kenan Sofuoglu [about] this number, “said Razgatlioglu.” Yamaha, I don’t know [what they think], but I think it’s time for the # 1.
During his previous stint at Honda between 2010-14, Rea raced with 65th place on his CBR1000RR every year except 2012, when he fielded fourth place to highlight his position in the standings of the year. former.