Jonathan Rea: Five-time World Superbike champion focused solely on fight against coronavirus

Rea and his Kawasaki ZX-10R have proved a formidable combination over the past five seasons
Rea and his Kawasaki ZX-10R have proved a formidable combination over the past five seasons

Five-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea says his bid for another title means nothing compared to combating the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ballyclare man is now at home with his family with no clear indication of when the 2020 series will resume.

"I don't really care [about the championship] - I care about people getting healthy again and relieving stress on hospitals," he said.

"What's important is we get a handle on it and supporting each other."

Rea, 33, has won the title for the last five years and lies fourth in the standings after just one round was completed.

The next two rounds were postponed with a scheduled, though unlikely, return to action at Assen in mid-April.

Future unclear

"It's really strange, we should race in Assen and that hasn't been officially postponed yet but I think they are trying to rapidly match the calendar together," the Kawasaki rider added.

"What's clear is that this virus isn't under control so world travel is compromised and that means sport is compromised, but in reality its such a small part of the bigger problem.

"I'm sure we'll be at a standstill for the next 8-12 weeks and maybe into July we may start thinking about a calendar.

"What's clear is that the organisers really want to get a championship finished and it may not be the full 13-round series that they set out for but they are trying their best to get it done.

"I'm chomping at the bit to get back on my bike, i really miss it, I miss my team - I miss everybody. But that's not important right now.

A familiar sight over the past five years - Jonathan Rea celebrating a race victory
A familiar sight over the past five years - Jonathan Rea celebrating a race victory

Mind matters

Rea also believes the mental challenge of staying indoors for the foreseeable future is a major issue.

He has set up his own Youtube channel with "cool content" including cookery and teaching his four-year-old son to ride a motorbike.

"What's more important now is the mental aspect - I've a back garden to get out to escape to but many people aren't that fortunate so its important people stay mentally strong throughout this period," Rea added.

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'It's important to stay mentally strong'- Rea

"They just have to pick the simplest things that make them happy and try to achieve that goal that day because I can see that being a huge problem - I usually live my life at 200mph to completely stop it's going to be a big change.

"It's about people being clever and not panicking, With panic buying I just don't understand people going out and buying so much as if stores going close their doors. Everyone will still have essential needs.

"It's going to be challenge in the next few weeks, especially with kids off school. We just have to go with it and fight this pandemic.

"It's about good hygiene, staying away from those most vulnerable and getting through this the best we can."