Following the conclusion of his second test session for Repsol Honda, it was officially confirmed that Jonathan Rea will make his MotoGP debut in place of the injured Casey Stoner at the forthcoming San Marino Grand Prix.
With reigning champion Stoner facing an unknown recovery time from ankle surgery, Ten Kate Honda World Superbike star Rea was given the test outings - at Brno and then Aragon.
“In case, as doctors anticipate, Casey Stoner is not able to re-join the Repsol Honda Team in time, then Jonathan will replace him in [the races at] Misano and Aragon,” said the original Honda statement.
On Tuesday, Repsol Honda added that Stoner is “resting at home in Australia after his Surgery last week [and] is recovering well” - providing a slim chance that he could return - but the team has now confirmed that Stoner will not be fit for round 13:
“[At Misano] Jonathan will make his debut with the Repsol Honda Team on a race weekend replacing the injured Casey Stoner.”
Rea had been 3.1s from the top at the end of the one-day Brno test, then 2.7s behind after the first day at Aragon. The 25-year-old Ulsterman cut the gap to 1.8s on Wednesday.
The next time he will ride the RC13V will be in free practice at Misano on September 14. Rea will now head straight to this weekend's Nurburgring WSBK round.
“I'm happy with the test we did here in Aragon,” he said. “Now we're not looking at the lap times so much, but the gap to the front which is decreasing every test, so I'm happy with that.
“Yesterday we did a lot of work with the base setting and we confirmed that this morning. I'm still not completely happy finishing the corner, but this afternoon I did a long run and my fastest lap came at the end, so I need to push these tyres much harder and it's a question of trust.
“It's been a good opportunity to test before the race; the Repsol Honda Team gave me the best opportunity, knowing the bike and the circuit and I am constantly learning.
“Now I'm going to Germany to race in Superbikes this weekend, so it will be a busy period for me but I will try to take advantage of it and enjoy it as much as I can.”
Rea was 1.558s slower than Repsol Honda title contender Dani Pedrosa on Wednesday. Yamaha's championship leader Jorge Lorenzo set the fastest day two time.