WorldSBK 2009 Podium with 3 popular riders from the left Michel Fabrizio, “Nitro Nari” Haga und young Johnny Rea – all coming back strong in 2010 as well (© WorldSBK).

2010: The season of Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

The former MotoGP rider and arch-rival of Valentino Rossi had his best and most successful season in WorldSBK in 2010. The Römer clearly dominated the year on his V4 Aprilia. His closest rival Leon Haslam in a Suzuki had little chance of capturing Max Biaggi from the middle of the season. In his second full season in the Superbike World Championship, Jonathan Rea took 4 wins on a Hannspree Honda, and thus even one more than Vice World Champion Haslam. After ranking 5th in the World Championship last year, he achieved the best position in the final accounts with P4. But its best time was yet to come, but it would not start until 5 years later.

Max Biaggi in the pits – the Roman was already 39 years old when he won the first of two titles in the Superbike World Championship for Aprilia (© WorldSBK).

The 2010 World Drivers Championship

Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Honda) ahead of Cal Crutchlow (Sterilgarda Yamaha), the later MotoGP rider, was undisputed dominated by the Northern Irishman. The helmet sponsor (Red Bull) at the time is now conspicuously looking for every opportunity to present Rea in the worst possible light via his german news-page called Speedweek. However, this must not matter to the best superbike rider of all time. His favorite energy drink has long been called Monster Energy (© WorldSBK).

2011 – the year of Carlos Checa (Ducati)

Carlos Checa, like his predecessor, also came from MotoGP as Superbike World Champion. After his double victory at the season opener in Phillip Island (Australia, the Spaniard won the second rounds in Donington Park and Assen. This was followed by his only modest weekend in Monza, as in the previous year, at the same place. But with his double victories in Salt Lake City ( USA) and Misano, near Rimini in Italy, Checa laid the foundation for a dominant season on his V2 Ducati. His closest rival Marco Melandri on the Yamaha was more than 100 points behind in the end. Nevertheless, it was the best season with the runner-up world title of the racing dwarf from Ravenna. There were only 6 different winners in the 2011 season and it was the last season of “Nitro Nori” Noriyuki Haga. After his eighth place, the popular Japanese retired from active racing with 43 wins in 312 Haga had a major influence on the WSBK for 12 full years.

WorldSBK 2011 Champ Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati 1098R) – the first Spaniard to win the Superbike World Championship (© WorldSBK).

2012 – WSBK round 26: Second title of the Roman

Even today, English commentators often call him the Roman emperor when they speak of Max Biaggi. After his first World Cup title in 2010, however, things got much tighter for the Rome-born Italian. Before and after that, there had never been a closer decision in the Superbike World Championship. To win a title with only 5 wins was ultimately also a question of consistency. His compatriot Marco Melandri even triumphed six times on the BMW, but failed to see the finish line five times. In the end, Tom Sykes was the driver on the Kawasaki who was the least to be envied. Losing a World Cup half a point behind should have shaped the Englishman. In 2012 there were 9 different winners, this brand could last for a very long time.

Eugene Laverty leading teammate Max Biaggi (Aprilia) in Aragon (© WorldSBK).

2013 – Tom Sykes redeemed Kawasaki

It took exactly 20 years when Tom Sykes finally redeemed Kawasaki after a long dry spell and achieved the second title for the Greens. A year before that, Max Biaggi (Aprilia) was only half a point missing. Since the American Scott Russell in 1993 there had been numerous unsuccessful attempts and to fail as close as in 2012, there has never been anything like it. And this was only the beginning of a glorious future, because two years later a young man from Northern Ireland was hired, who would be the most successful WorldSBK of all time. His name is Jonathan Rea and he also clinched a win for Honda in 2013. Compared to Kawasaki, BMW and Aprilia, however, this one was on clearly inferior material back then.

Three of Tom Sykes’ 2013 rivals: Davide Giugliano (Aprilia), Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies (both BMW). While the Italian leading here failed to win, his compatriot Melandri and Davies each won three this season (© WorldSBK).

2014 – the year of Sylvain Guintoli

It was one of the closest rulings in WorldSBK for the third consecutive year since 2012. The world champion was only determined in the last race. With Sylvain Quintoli on Aprilia, there was still a replacement at the top at the finale, who after the penultimate event was still held by Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki. Seen in this way, the Englishman lost the title in two of the three World Cup rounds at the last moment. But for the man from Huddersfield, he had a completely different problem the following year, which made his brow furrow with worry. His new teammate was called Jonathan Rea and he had an incomparably glorious time ahead of him on the Kawasaki. With Sylvain Guintoli, after Raymond Roche in 1990, i.e. in the third year of WSBK history, a Frenchman won the title for the second time.

Sylvain Guintoli on Aprilia – a powerful combination, on which the reigning world champion Tom Sykes narrowly failed in the end of the 2014 season (© WorldSBK).

2015: The first title for Jonathan Rea on Kawasaki

This year began a difficult time for team-mate Tom Sykes and the rest of the competition. The Northern Irishman moved from the less than competitive Honda to a bike that was definitely one of the best of the decade. The combination between this extraordinary driver and the extremely powerful ZX-10 R was seldom cracked by the opponents. After 5 of 13 laps and thus 10 of 26 races, the Northern Irishman was already 87 points ahead of his closest rival. It was Leon Haslam at Aprilia who had the second best start to the season after Johnny Rea. His team-mates Sykes and Chaz Davies (Ducati) then improved, but they were unable to seriously endanger the newcomer to Kawasaki. With Troy Bayliss in Australia and Thailand, as well as Max Biaggi (Aprilia) in Misano and Sepang (Malaysia), two old masters and multiple world champions gave a much-noticed wildcard comeback. The latter even made it onto the podium once and the Aussie at least achieved a top ten position.

Jonathan Rea with his crew at his first title celebration after the race – it was by no means the last, but only the beginning of an incomparable series and dominance (© WorldSBK).

2016 – the second world title for Johnny Rea (Kawasaki)

In his second season for Kawasaki, the reigning world champion, who was born on February 2, 1987 in Larne (Northern Ireland), made an excellent start. The lead over teammate Tom Sykes was already 70 points after 6 of 13 laps. Only the second-placed Chaz Davies (Ducati) was 42 points behind, halfway within striking distance of Rea. However, when the Welshman missed the finish three times in the next 6 races, he too lost touch. With “only” 9 versus 14 wins a year earlier, Jonathan Rea was not quite as dominant as he was when he won his first world title. But his consistency was almost frightening for his competition. In the first 25 of a total of 26 races, the Northern Irishman was never worse than fourth. The Kawasaki rider stood on the podium no less than 23 times in 2016.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10 R) was again the measure of all things in WorldSBK in 2016. With a total of 5 wins, his team-mate Tom Sykes finished second in front of Chaz Davies (Ducati) and thus contributed to the second manufacturer title in a row for the Japanese brand after 2015 (© WorldSBK).

The WSBK season 2017 – Johnny Rea for the third

In his third season on Kawasaki, Rea, who was born on February 2, 1987 in Larne, Northern Ireland, won more than half of the 26 World Championship races that season with 16 races. In addition, he stood on the podium 8 more times, with only 2 failures to complain about. His toughest challenger Chaz Davies (Ducati) did not see the checkered flag 5 times and won 7 world championship races. In the end, however, he was 153 points behind the world champion, which clearly underscores Rea’s dominance. His team-mate Tom Sykes was only able to win two races and was completely in his shadow.

Red Bull Honda Team launch with Nicky Hayden (on the left) and Stefan Bradl (© WorldSBK).

Black year for Red Bull Honda
Red Bull Honda had 2017 indeed a black year. After the Imola race, Nicky Hayden had a fatal accident on a racing bike. Best place for Stefan Bradl was a 6th in Assen. Furthermore the German injured his wrist in Portimão and withdrew completely from the WorldSBK at the end of the season. The following year, however, Leon Camier proved that his Honda Bike could not be the lameest duck in the field with a 4th place at the “Destination of Speed” in BuriRam.

Lausitzring, 2nd race 2017 – unfortunately the last world championship run on this track before the takeover by DEKRA meant the end for WorldSBK. In the front the two Kawasaki drivers Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea (both Kawasaki). Behind the two-time race winner Chaz Davies on Ducati. It was the last year in which the winner of the first race of the second race had to start from position 9. A rather questionable handicap rule, which was finally abolished for the 2019 season.

2018 – four in a row for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki)

After the start of the season for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) did not go quite as desired, the Northern Irishman won the first race three times in a row from the 2nd round in BuriRam (Thailand). The Kawasaki rider achieved his first double victory in Imola, before Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) triumphed twice in his home race at Donington Park. In Brno, Rea won the first race and fell in the second run after touching Tom Sykes, whom he blamed for it. From then on, the record world champion won all races up to the end of the season and won the fourth world championship title in a row. At the same time, it also became the fourth manufacturers’ title in a row for Kawasaki since 2015. With 17 wins and another 5 podium finishes, Rea had a dominance that left his opponents in despair.

Our picture made in Nevers: The last time together as teammates on the podium since 2015: From left Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea (both Kawasaki), next to them Xavi Fores on a Barni Ducati. The man in the middle is already wearing the new t-shirt with the label “Four of a Kind” to celebrate his 4th World Cup title in a row. In Magny Cours, the Northern Irishman had just secured his fourth World Championship title ahead of schedule.

The 2019 season – # 5 title for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki)

The Northern Irishman not only won the world title for the Japanese manufacturer for the fifth time in a row this season. His employer was at least as happy with winning the Suzuka 8 Hours, which was extremely prestigious in Japan. Beating Honda on their home track is a special highlight for all competitors. Their gigantic effort in advance and the mobilization of HRC MotoGP test driver Stefan Bradl was of no use to Honda. On the contrary, the German looked very old compared to Rea, who often drove simultaneous stints with him, and usually lost more than a second per lap on the Northern Irish.

Our picture taken in Donington Park in July 2019 at Turn 10, called Melbourne Hairpin, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Puccetti Kawasaki) attacked the leading Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team). The day before we took this photo, it was still raining and the world champion drove the competition into the ground in the wet. In front of his home crowd, he won both races on Sunday even in the dry.
Marco Melandri in his final season as a regular driver in Motul WorldSBK 2019 for GRT Yamaha in Imola. Held by us at the Paddock Show interview hour. The 250 cc world champion from 2002 returned a year later and wanted to do it again for Barni Ducati instead of Leon Camier from the second round. But after 4 rounds the little Italian threw in the towel due to failure.

The 2019 World Championship ranking

At the beginning of the season, the competition, spectators and fans often had long faces because Bautista was vastly superior to all opponents in acceleration and top speed. On the straights of BuriRam you could see with the naked eye how he was around 10 mph faster than the competition. Interestingly enough, the FIM did not consider it necessary after 3 races to effectively slow down the lightning-fast Ducati by reducing the maximum permitted rpm. At Kawasaki this had been significantly different in previous years. But despite all the adversities, Johnny Rea still managed to win his 5th title in a row and, after 11 defeats against the Spaniard, struck mercilessly from the “driver’s track” in Imola.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) shaped the second decade of the third millennium in WorldSBK like no other driver before him. In the year this picture was taken, he had to endure the toughest losing streak since he drove for Kawasaki at the start of the season. But in Imola he finally achieved his first victory after Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) had won 11 races in a row. This photo was taken directly after Rea’s first victory of the season in the 1st Imola race on May 11, 2019 at the paddock show of the traditional Autodromo Dino e Enzo Ferrari.

2019 constructors Championship ranking

Kawasaki for the fifth time in a row. Together with team-mate Leon Haslam, Jonathan Rea ensured that the manufacturers’ title stayed in his fifth season for the Greens. Despite a strong start to the season for Alvaro Bautista, Ducati ended up being 50 points behind. Part of the reason for this was the fact that his team-mate Chaz Davies struggled with the MotoGP Replica Panigale V4R.