With the 2017 World Superbike season less than two weeks away, we took the time to speak to World Supersport rider Gino Rea about how his season preparation is going and whether he’d ever consider going back to tackle Moto2…
Hi Gino, thank you for taking the time to chat to us. Firstly, how is your preparation going for the upcoming season?
It’s been really good actually. The first race feels like it’s come around quickly after such a busy off-season. I broke my hand badly at the end of last season so I actually started working in a CrossFit gym and took part in a coaching development programme. The knowledge I’ve gained has really helped my fitness and I’m back to 100% fitness so I’m feeling more ready than ever.
The first round at Phillip Island is less than two weeks away, how are you feeling about moving from an MV to a Kawasaki?
I’m really looking forward to getting started with Team GOELEVEN and the Kawasaki. We were able to test at Jerez and although it was only a track day we were able to learn a lot about the bike. I felt right at home with it from the start and we continued to improve the bike through the few days on track. I ended up going faster than I did on race weekend last year on the MV. It was also my first time back on a bike since my crash and injury last year which incidentally was also at Jerez.
What are your goals for the 2017 season?
I want to win the title and I feel I’m ready for it. I’ve got the experience now and I feel that if the full package is there I’m able to challenge at the front consistently. The goal is to win races and consistent podium finishes. I need to be top 3 in the Championship.
What has been your biggest challenge in motorcycle racing to date?
There’s been a few! One of the biggest challenges is to stay motivated and keep putting in 100% effort after being let down, which unfortunately happens too much in our sport.
Your Moto2 stint was very up and down – from fighting for wins with Marquez, to your team pulling out of the class, to then forming your own team to keep competing. Did any of this put you off going back to Moto2 in the future, or would you like to try it again?
I had an amazing experience there and it’s great to have achieved a Grand Prix podium but it was extremely difficult to do what I did and be competitive in that Championship. There were times I was 0.7 off Pole whilst crew chiefing for myself, yet in 17th position. Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity with a top team or top bike together, which does make me feel like there is unfinished business there. But at this point in my career I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to Moto2 unless it was with one of the top teams. At the moment I see my future in World Superbike.
Something that has a lot of fans talking is the shake-up of the WSBK grid – what are your thoughts on this? Do you think it’ll attract new fans/affect attendance?
I hope it’s a positive thing as we need to attract new fans. It will definitely be interesting to watch the faster guys from race 1 come through the pack. I just hope it doesn’t make it too confusing for fans to follow, we don’t want it to have a negative affect and lose fans.
Short term it can make the racing more exciting but long term something else needs to be done to bring the bikes closer together and therefore the racing closer.
Thank you for this interview! Best of luck for the start of the season and I hope to catch up with you at Donington Park!
Thank you and hope to see you and everyone reading at my fan club stand at Donington Park which is usually located in the paddock just before Redgate corner!
(photo credit: GeeBee Images)