Rea’s first visit to the Kent circuit this year signalled the beginning of a new era in his career with Red Bull Honda. Since then, the 18-year-old has defied critics with an impressive string of front row starts and top ten finishes. He even set a new record at his home round of Mondello Park in May when he became the youngest ever person to secure pole position in the championship.
The Ulster teenager is now aiming to use the challenging 2.6-mile Grand Prix track at Brands Hatch to stage his best performance of the year aboard the Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. Rea is approaching the final round of the year in a confident mood, and rightly so.
When he made the step up to the world’s premier road racing series from the Supersport class this year, critics were quick to question his ability aboard the more powerful machine. However, he adapted well to the larger-capacity machine and has gone from strength to strength throughout the course of the season.
The Ballyclare rider now heads to the season showdown at Brands Hatch happy in the knowledge that he has achieved more with Red Bull Honda this year than he could ever have imagined.
Jonathan Rea: “Overall, this has been a good year for me professionally. I have matured and gained a lot of experience throughout the season and Red Bull Honda has helped me to progress my riding skills. I feel happy that I can head to Brands Hatch to just enjoy the event, because I don’t feel under pressure to perform or prove myself to others.”
Laverty’s taste for the top
Eugene Laverty tasted success at the last round of the British Supersport Championship – and he has decided that he likes it. The 19-year-old scored his first podium position of the season at Donington Park after claiming a hard-fought third place at the chequered flag.
It was the culmination of the Toomebridge teenager’s hard work with Red Bull Honda throughout the duration of the season. Laverty has made enormous progress aboard the double championship-winning Honda CBR600RR since making the step up to the middleweight class this year.
He has challenged a hoard of more experienced contenders and, at times, proved himself to be the stronger rider in the ultra-competitive series. In addition to his latest podium finish, Laverty has also enjoyed four front row starts – including one pole position – as well as five top ten finishes and one top five position this year.
Ninth place overall in the series does not reflect the talent that the Ulster rider has displayed in his debut Supersport season. He is heading to the 2.6-mile GP track at Brands Hatch this weekend with the aim of reaching the pinnacle of his achievements in the championship to date – or at least matching them.
A second consecutive podium finish for the Red Bull Honda rider would be a positive end to a promising season for a racing star of the future.
Eugene Laverty: “My last visit to the GP track at Brands Hatch was for the British 125GP Championship. I was not particularly strong there, but much of that was down to bad weather and lack of experience. It is an extremely demanding track, but I’m looking forward to getting to grips with it this weekend and finishing the season on a high note.”