Rea’s WSB lead put in context
At 13 rounds long, the 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship will run right through until the middle of October and feature 26 individual points scoring races.
After eight races there is one unmistakeable leader in Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team).
The Isle of Man resident from Northern Ireland has been almost invincible since he got settled in behind the clocks and screen of his official Kawasaki WSB weapon.
Six wins from eight races, two second places, and two doubles in Thailand and Assen - no wonder he has a gigantic 50-point lead at such an early stage of the overall competition.
His nearest challengers, Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Red Devils) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati WSB) have hardly been shabby in their pursuit, and have each shown Rea is at least beatable occasionally by winning a race apiece.
All the same, 50 points is a huge gap in the modern history of the WSB championship at this stage.
Last year Rea led Tom Sykes by only five points after four rounds and eight races.
In 2013 Sylvain Guintoli led Eugene Laverty by 13 points.
In 2012 Biaggi led Checa by only 2 – after only seven races, however, and with half-points in one of those to boot.
In 2011 Checa led Melandri by a strong 27.
In 2010 Haslam led Biaggi by 20.
But Rea being 50 points clear after only eight races this time around is not a WSB record.
As recently as 2009 Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) enjoyed a 60-point lead over Ben Spies (Yamaha WSB) after eight races.
With a points total of 180 – ten less than Rea at the same stage - Haga was not quite as dominant on track back then as Rea is now. But it is also worth remembering that come the end of the year, and despite such a vast early domination, it was not Haga but Spies who would be crowned WSB Champion.
Something potentially comforting for the chasing pack in 2015 to focus on – although they do now head to a circuit where Rea won the double last year – Imola.