Jonathan Rea has joked he's received more messages of congratulations about his MBE than either of his two World Superbike championship titles, after being awarded in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The World Superbike championship leader has explained how the news broke to him as a slight surprise and his pride at representing motorcycle racing in the mainstream with his MBE awarded for his achievements in racing as a two-time world champion.

Rea takes great honour in being drawn alongside two-wheeled heroes like Carl Fogarty, an MBE, and Joey Dunlop, an OBE, and feels humbled by the recognition for his accomplishments.

"I received a letter a couple of months ago to accept that my name had been put forward for the MBE and I ticked the box that says, "Yes I do" and sent it back," Rea said. "I think the most important thing is that I got more messages on my phone about the MBE than I did when I won the championship!

"It seems like a bigger accolade to have, for the general public. It means that you are recognised in open society, not just as a niche sport. That means a lot. It is nice to get motorcycling recognised in the mainstream.

"Maybe the young Princes had something to do with it, selling motorsport to the Queen?

"Heroes like Joey Dunlop have achieved not just an MBE but and OBE as well, so to join him as a Member of the British Empire is really cool. Also Foggy, the most dominant Superbike rider of all time. So I am putting my name along with good people."

Rea's Kawasaki Racing Team manager Guim Roda confessed his squad didn't initially understand the importance of the award in the United Kingdom but after a quick explanation are thrilled to celebrate the nod with their rider.

"We saw in the media during race weekend at Misano that Jonathan had received this award," Roda said. "Within the team, which is based in Spain, we didn't know the real status of it until his assistant, Kev, explained the full meaning.

"We are so happy for Johnny and we can assure Her Majesty that she will give the medal not only to a great sportsman but also to an incredible person - a kind and very committed one. We all must be happy for Johnny and I'm sure he will represent this honour well."

Rea is hunting a third consecutive World Superbike title in 2017 and holds a 50-point lead on Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes.


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