Jonathan Rea has revealed that one of the key reasons behind his enduring loyalty to Honda – even when things have not been going well – is that the Japanese manufacturer has 'some good plans for me for 2012', what he hopes will be 'a really exciting year'.
Rea has been a Honda man ever since he began circuit racing back in 2003, though he admits his faith in the cause was strained somewhat during the summer as chattering issues left him with a bike that he was having to constantly ride 'on a knife-edge' [see separate story – click here
Affirming that he now wouldn't wish to be anywhere else, the 23-year-old – who arguably outperformed the machinery at his disposal in 2010 to finish an excellent fourth in the final World Superbike Championship (WSBK) standings with Ten Kate – told Crash.net Radio
that he is confident his commitment will ultimately be rewarded.
“Honda have got some good plans for me for 2012,” he conceded, whilst admitting that he cannot elaborate too much further for the time being. “I know from being there and racing in the eight-hour race in Japan and talking with not only HRC bosses but also Honda Motor Company bosses that they seem to respect me a lot and what I'm trying to do.
“They know the level I'm riding at and the effort I'm putting in; they get the race reports every Sunday, so they can see exactly what problems we're having. Hopefully they'll stand by their word, and maybe 2012 will be a really exciting one.”
Another rider who has followed roughly the same career path as the Ulsterman through British Superbikes and World Supersport – but who has stepped up to the highest level earlier – is Cal Crutchlow, and Rea acknowledges that an eventual move into MotoGP is similarly his long-term goal. A goal that he hopes may just materialise sooner rather than later.
“Yeah, sure – hopefully in 2012!” he quipped, when asked if he hopes to follow Crutchlow's example by graduating to the premier class, before going on to dispel what he sees as some myths surrounding MotoGP. “I'm not worried about that. I think it's great that Cal has gone there and I think he's going to show the level of the World Superbike Championship.
“I do think there's a lot of cotton wool wrapped around that paddock as being the elite, but we've seen what Ben Spies did this year, and I beat Ben last year in a straight-out fight, [Max] Biaggi beat him in a straight-out fight, [Noriyuki] Haga did as well. Ben's a great guy and I'm so happy to see him doing well over there, because it makes us guys look as if we're not just a second-rate championship.
“My priority is just to try and win this championship next year for Honda, and then I would love the opportunity to go there (MotoGP) on a great bike with Honda in 2012. If that happens, I'll grab it with both hands – but if not, I'm happy where I am, I'm happy in the World Superbike Championship and I'm having fun on a good bike that's capable of winning most weekends.”