Rea eager for MotoGP challenge


Jonathan Rea believes his previous test on Honda's 800cc MotoGP bike will give him a headstart when he stands in for Casey Stoner.

Honda announced on Sunday that Superbike World Championship frontrunner Rea would do three days of testing for its factory MotoGP team with a view to racing at Misano and Aragon if - as expected - Stoner is still recovering from ankle surgery.

The test will mark Rea's first taste of the 1000cc MotoGP Honda, but he believes his 800cc run and WSBK experience has prepared him well.

"The biggest difference for me between SBK and MotoGP is the tyres and brakes," said the 25-year-old Briton.

"The engine and electronics package that we have here [in WSBK] is quite sophisticated.

"The 1000cc bike is much faster than the 800cc I rode last time, but already having that familiarity with the bike, I know what I'm letting myself in for.

"It's an animal. A proper fire-breathing racing machine. So I'm really looking forward to the challenge."

Rea, who races for Ten Kate Honda in WSBK, said the call from the MotoGP squad had come out of the blue.

"Right now it's a little bit of a shock," he said. "I'm under no illusions how tough a machine it is and tough a class it is.

"My target is to go there, ride around, enjoy myself and try and give some feedback.

"Right now I can't get the smile off my face."

He added that he was honoured that Honda had given him the chance.

"I guess for the top guys at Honda, Superbikes are really not their priority so it's always good that they have a keen eye on me," Rea said.

"I've ridden for Honda all my career and given everything for the brand so it's a nice little treat to get another run on the GP bike."

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