This is, quite frankly, one of those things you just have to see to believe. Crashes aren’t at all unusual in racing—after all, these are professionals and bikes that are both constantly pushed to their limits. If you go over those limits in some way, you crash. Hopefully you do it less as you become a better racer, but it still happens to word-beaters on a regular basis. Has anyone had a crash like this one weird trick that Jonathan Rea managed during WSBK superpole at Misano over the weekend?
It starts off as a pretty unremarkable low-side crash, where the bike almost gently goes down and starts to slide out from under Rea as he goes around a corner. He holds on, which a lot of riders don’t do a lot of the time, but even that isn’t the really weird part. What happens next is truly bizarre, as his ZX10-RR literally stands up straight in the air with Rea underneath it. The wheels are perfectly facing the sky for a moment as the bike rolls completely over sideways to land on its left side on the track.
The primary reason we’re able to appreciate this weirdness, of course, is that Rea was amazingly able to just hop back on the bike and ride it skillfully enough to secure fifth. For those unfamiliar, starting with the 2019 season, WSBK race weekends feature three races in the premier class, one on Saturday and two on Sunday. Qualifying times determine Race 1's grid on Saturday, then there's the Tissot Superpole Race and Race 2 on Sunday. Tissot Superpole Race results determine Race 2's order. To make things extra confusing, qualifying is officially referred to as the Tissot Superpole, but it's a completely separate event from Sunday's Tissot Superpole Race.
According to Kawasaki, curb weight of a stock ZX10-RR is 454.2 pounds—and that’s sitting still, not rolling over on top of you and multiplied by additional force that I'm sure any RA readers who are also physicists will be more than happy to tell us about in the comments. It’s amazing to think that Rea suffered no injuries, and even more unbelievable that he instantly recovered that well. I’ve watched him race for years, and to say that he’s clearly very talented is a massive understatement—but this kind of weirdness almost seems superhuman.