Jonathan Rea wants the World Superbike Championship to introduce a dropped scores system as a temporary measure to cover off the risk of riders missing races due to contracting coronavirus.
The latest wave of COVID-19 in Europe has led to renewed fears that the 2021 WSBK season, due to begin in April, could be disrupted.
Moreover, there is the possibility of riders being sidelined from action, after both MotoGP star Valentino Rossi and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton missed races in their respective championships last year following positive COVID-19 tests.
WSBK’s protocols against coronavirus infections aren’t as strict as those of MotoGP (like WSBK promoted by Dorna Sports) or F1, although the bigger outfits in the category privately get their employees tested before, during and after race weekends.
Rea, who is chasing a seventh consecutive title with Kawasaki this year, said WSBK should allow riders in 2021 to drop their worst weekend from the standings to ensure the championship fight remains unaffected in case a contender is forced to skip a round.
“They [should] adopt the rule that like in years gone past where you can cancel one weekend’s results,” said the Ulsterman during last week’s aborted Jerez pre-season test. “Like in motocross I used to race there, you can cancel your worst weekend of the season.
“I think Dorna should look at this rule during this pandemic, because look at what happened to Valentino last year [and] Lewis Hamilton.
“I’m maybe in the best shape of my life right now and I feel nervous, because what happens if I [test] positive before the first race and I can’t go [and ride], you know what I mean? The championship won’t stop because I’m positive.”
Rea said he hoped to be able to take a vaccine “as fast as possible” once one becomes available to the general public in the UK, although he conceded this is likely to take time.
“If the vaccine is gonna help me, give me some immunity from this virus so I can keep racing and doing my job, I have to try and take it,” he said.
“But the problem now is even privately in my country you can’t get the vaccine. You have to be [a front line worker]. As soon as it becomes available to me, of course I’ll take it.”
The 2021 WSBK season is set to begin on April 24-25, with the first nine rounds scheduled in Europe. The Australian round at Phillip Island, traditionally the WSBK season opener, has been pushed back to an unspecified date in the latter part of the schedule.
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