Jonathan Rea is the great ruler of recent years in the Superbike world championship, in the last decade he has won six titles, from 2015 to 2020, exceeding the threshold of 100 victories. The reigning SBK champion also had two MotoGP races in 2012 aboard the Honda, replacing the then injured Casey Stoner, at Aragon and Misano. On those two occasions he had conquered a seventh and an eighth place, and impressed the team a lot.
However, despite the numerous encounters, the Northern Irishman never had the opportunity to find a full-time place in the premier class of the world championship, remaining in the series derivatives where this year he is fighting for the seventh title against a very tough Toprak Razgatlioglu.
Valentino Rossi thinks it’s a real shame that Rea has never had a chance in MotoGP and thinks that even now at 34 he could be fast in the premier class: “This year the battle between Rea and Toprak is great fun, it’s great to follow because I believe they are two great riders at the peak of their talent and the battles are fantastic to see ”.
“I think it’s a great pity that Jonathan Rea never had the opportunity to move to MotoGP – continues Rossi – maybe five or six years ago. I think he rides very well and has the potential to be strong in MotoGP. But I think even now it would be fast ”.
Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Rossi’s words also reached Jonathan Rea, who in Argentina is ready to return to the top of the standings, coming as a pursuer after the two crashes in Portimao. The Kawasaki rider confirms what Valentino said, believing that the missed opportunity is a great pity: “It is certainly a pity, because I have never had a real opportunity. I had one doing two wildcards in 2012, in which I made seventh and eighth. But that’s what happened ”.
“I had some difficult moments in my career with my old team, others very beautiful – he continues – But when I arrived in Kawasaki I was very happy. Life is beautiful, I am winning. The only question mark in my career is what I could have done in MotoGP. I don’t know, but I can’t have any regrets, because I’ve never had the opportunity. But that’s life. Riders cannot create their own lives, they must have opportunities and unfortunately for me this never came ”.
In any case, despite not having had the opportunity to test himself in MotoGP, Rea feels very honored by Rossi’s words, which represent a certificate of esteem as a rider: “Hearing these words from Valentino is nice, because he is one of the greatest of all time in motorcycle racing and we respect each other very much. Sometimes he sends me messages after the race and vice versa. I’m a big fan of him as a person and of what he has done throughout his career ”.
Additional information by Federico Faturos