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Rea: Beating Rossi was personal highlight

4 November 2012

Jonathan Rea says the 'personal highlight' of his short MotoGP stint this season was beating Italian legend Valentino Rossi at Aragon in Spain.

The World Superbike star was drafted into the Repsol Honda MotoGP team as a replacement for the injured Casey Stoner.

Rea finished eighth on his series debut at Misano and seventh at Aragon, where he took the chequered flag ahead of Ducati rider Rossi.

Rossi ran off track on lap one at Aragon after almost clipping the back of Rea. Neverther, the result was a moment the 25-year-old Ulsterman, now based in the Isle of Man, will cherish.

“I achieved two top-10 finishes but my personal highlight was beating Valentino Rossi in Aragon,” Rea told BBC Sport.

“Overall I did a good job and can walk away with my head held high.

“Both championships are world class but, MotoGP was very different for me and it took me a while to get used to the tyres.

“I came away from the experience as a much better rider and hopefully I will come back bigger and stronger for 2013,” added Rea, who will be joined by fellow Briton Leon Haslam in the new-look Pata Honda World Superbike team for 2013 under the Ten Kate umbrella.

Rea was strongly linked to the satellite Gresini Honda outfit for next season and confirmed he was in the frame for the ride, which finally went to Alvaro Bautista.

“There was an option to go there at one stage but in the end it didn't materialise,” he said.

“One of the big drawbacks of that paddock is that things can be quite political and my face didn't fit there at this time.

“I'm happy to stay in World Superbikes with Honda for the moment but my eventual goal is to go to MotoGP full-time and show what I can do there.”

Rea finished fifth overall in the World Superbike Championship this year.


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