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Cal Crutchlow: Rea deserves this chance
13 September 2012
Cal Crutchlow is pleased to see former World Superbike rival Jonathan Rea getting a MotoGP chance at Misano this weekend.
Crutchlow joined MotoGP for 2011 and, after a tough debut season, came out firing in 2012 - ending a twelve-year British MotoGP podium drought last time in Brno.
“It's great to have Johnny here. He deserves the opportunity, as do a lot of the guys in World Superbike,” said Crutchlow.
“Johnny has certainly shown his speed already and it just takes time. If you look at what I did last year, it was a disaster all year. It took me this long to even start to be fast.
“It's about taking time and growing experience with a grand prix bike. But it's a great opportunity and we know he'll be fast in the end.”
25-year-old Ulsterman Rea, a ten time World Superbike race winner, has been called up by the factory Repsol Honda team to replace injured world champion Casey Stoner for Misano and Aragon.
Rea starts this weekend having had three 'days' of testing on the RC213V, at Brno and then Aragon, after which he was 1.8s from the fastest rider present.
“Brno wasn't really a test. I was a like a zombie. I had one and a half hours sleep and there was so much to learn in half a day,” explained Rea. “I got more comfortable with the machine in Aragon. I could see the other riders for more than two corners and picked up a lot there.
“As Cal said, the GP bike is completely different and takes time. But I'm really enjoying this learning experience and the gap between me and the bike is getting closer.
“It's a big challenge, but also I've been given the best opportunity with Honda to come here on a competitive bike. It's not always like that. It's more easy to go the other way and land on your feet in Superbike with a great package.
“The successful World Superbike guys in the past, like Cal and Ben [Spies], for sure they made their mistakes in year one, but as we can see they are two of the best riders here now and doing a great job.
“I have no expectation to compare myself to those guys just yet. I'm just enjoying the opportunity to race a great circuit in front of all the enthusiastic Italian fans.
“I'm just going to lap up this opportunity and hopefully I can do myself proud at the end.”
Looking further ahead, Rea is aiming to earn a full-time grand prix seat for 2013.
“For sure I want the possibility to come to MotoGP because I think it's every young guy's dream to be in this championship,” he said.
“My hero was Kevin Schwantz so to race in MotoGP would be an honour.
“My future is not in my hands right now. I'll have to wait and see. Hopefully I can do a good job here and we'll see what happens.”
Rea will finish the WSBK season for Ten Kate Honda in-between his MotoGP appearances. The only remaining 2013 Honda MotoGP ride is at Gresini.