MCN's WSBK rider of the year: 1st Jonathan Rea

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MCN’s Sports Desk rank the five riders who have impressed them most in the World Superbike Championship during the 2016 season.

1st – Jonathan Rea

  • Best result: 1st
  • Wins: 9
  • Podiums: 23
  • Championship position: 1st

It’ll come as no surprise to anyone at all that defending champion Jonathan Rea is our World Superbike man of the year, after a dominant championship win despite a harder start to the year than he enjoyed last year as he won his first title.

Riding a brand new Kawasaki ZX-10R at the start of the season, Rea looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable on the bike, making mistakes mid-race – and going three whole rounds without taking a victory.

However, while he might not have been winning, he was still racking up the points – a ‘difficult’ start to a season for Rea on the dominant Kawasaki was still enough to see him take a podium in every race he finished bar one in 2016 – and with only two DNFS to go with that, his opposition had a hell of a task to beat him.

And while new rules might help close the gap between him and his opponents for 2017, he’s still the man to beat as we go into the season. Blisteringly fast at the final test of 2016 – faster even than the MotoGP racers he was sharing the track with – it’s hard to bet against him as he sets out on step three of his plan to beat Carl Fogarty to the title of most successful WSBK racer ever.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer