Last year it was Cal Crutchlow, this time it's Johnny Rea. The Northern Irish rider has been awarded the Torrens Trophy, a prestigious prize that the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) awards to outstanding British motorcycle riders. The Kawasaki rider has been selected after having scored his third consecutive Superbike title in 2017.
The prize-giving also provided an opportunity to talk about the future, particularly MotoGP with a view to 2019. Many would like to see him in action in the top class, his name often coming up in conversations regarding the market. Rea himself is clear on the subject: “It would take something special to get me to MotoGP – he told our MCN colleagues – it was dream, the best riders are there. But I'd need a competitive package in order to challenge them, I'd also need to make up for a lack of experience in terms of the bike, tracks and tyres. I'm not interested in riding for a satellite team, while there are official riders with better equipment. At 31, I honestly don't believe I'll get the opportunity”.
Also because it won't be easy for him to leave SBK: "Superbike is my second home. Right now my manager is looking at the various options, though I'm not necessarily looking for a change. I'm just happy to have a bike I can win races with." Basically, Johnny seems to be essentialy ruling out a return to MotoGP. His SBK fans will be very pleased to hear it.