Could 2018 be the year in which Jonathan Rea smashes all the records of world superbike legend Carl Fogarty?
Rea, world champion for the past three seasons, has competed in a near identical number of races to the King Carl, but how do they actually stack up?
We looked at their vital statistics and uncovered some interesting facts….
Number of races
- Foggy 219
- Rea 218
- Troy Corser 377
Carl Fogarty’s glittering world superbike career ended ignominiously in Australia, in the second race of the second round of the 2000 season. He was 36 years old (although officially listed as two years younger) and it was his 219th race in the series.
JR will equal that landmark in the opening round of the 2018 season, also at the iconic Phillip Island circuit, at the age of 31. It marks the start of his 10th full season in world superbikes, although he’s still got a long way to go to surpass Troy Corser’s record of 377 race starts. The Aussie won 33 races and two titles in a world superbike career spanning 16 years.
- Foggy 59
- Rea 54
Here’s a record Rea can take outright in 2018. Fogarty’s benchmark of 59 wins was set on 12 September 1999, at the superfast Hockenheimring in Germany, having taken at least one win each season from 1992.
Jonathan has won at least one race in each of his full seasons in world superbikes, even in the years when his Honda Fireblade was one of the least competitive bikes on the grid. The earliest that he can equal and surpass Fogarty’s record is at the Spanish Aragon circuit, on the weekend of 14-15 April.
- Foggy 21
- Rea 14
- Corser 43
Taking pole position earns a nice watch and bragging rights, but there are no points for being fastest in practice.
Neither Foggy nor Rea have particularly excelled in the one off lap. In theory, Rea can surpass King Carl’s total of 21 poles in 2018, but there’s a strong chance that the outright record could go to Jonathan’s Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes. The Yorkshireman is the current King of Superpole, with 42 fancy timepieces to his name, and he’ll look to equal and pass Troy Corser’s record of 43 poles in the coming season.
- Foggy 48
- Rea 41
- Noriyuki Haga 59
There are no points for fastest race laps either, but it sure is a good indicator of a rider’s pace when the bike’s set up on harder tyres and a full fuel tank. Once again, the two Brit legends are pretty close, with Jonathan needing to take seven fastest laps to equal Foggy’s 48. Having taken 14 in 2017, it’s a very achievable target.
It’s also possible for Jonathan to take the outright record, which is currently held by Japanese ace Nori Haga, who proved that qualifying and racing are completely different animals. Nori-chan scored just seven pole positions in his illustrious career, but tops the world superbike records with 59 fastest race laps to his name.
- Foggy 4
- Rea 3
The true definition of a racer’s greatness will always be the number of world titles they have to their name, and that’s one record that Jonathan can’t take outright in 2018.
Success this season will see him match Fogarty’s four world titles (1994, 1995, 1998 and 1999) although his record of three consecutive titles (2015, 2016 and 2017) is an achievement that has never been met by any other rider. Four in a row is without precedent, and who would bet against him becoming a five time champ some time in his career?
- Foggy 1
- Rea 1
In 1998, the then three time champ, was honoured with the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1998 New Year’s Honours List. Last year Rea, then a two-time champ, received the same accolade in the Queen’s Birthday list.
Both riders come from racing stock. George Fogarty was a leading privateer in his day, who stood on a TT podium and took part in Grand Prix races as a privateer.
Like so many Irish motorcycle racers, Johnny Rea Senior was an exponent of the real road races, winning the 1989 Junior TT, and being a regular competitor of none other than Carl Fogarty on the road circuits.
Both are also famously family men. Mrs. Fogarty, Micheala, was the first lady of world superbikes and by her husband’s side during his title winning years, while Jonathan’s Australian wife, Tatia, is a permanent fixture in his winning team. The Reas have two young sons, Jake and Tyler, while the Fogartys have two grown up daughters, Danielle and Claudia.
As well as his world superbike successes, Foggy’s CV includes a whole host of prestigious race and championship wins, including three Formula One world titles, an endurance world title and three TT wins. He started five 500cc Grands Prix, taking a best finish of fourth on a Cagiva at the 1993 British Grand Prix.
While Foggy’s early career was one of a jobbing rider, today’s practice of riders generally sticking to one class means that Rea has less embellishment on his CV. His 2015 world superbike title was actually his first road racing title, although he came close to winning the 2007 British superbike championship and the 2008 world supersport title, finishing runner-up on each occasion. He won the 2012 Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race and made two MotoGP appearances as a stand in for Casey Stoner that same year, finishing an impressive seventh and eighth. His runner-up position in the 2017 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award was also a major surprise and brought mainstream recognition.
Fogarty has also had significant success in retirement, most notably winning TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2014, though it could well be a long time before we see Jonathan Rea take part in a reality television show!