‘I KNEW HE WAS THE REAL DEAL’
“While I was in Motogp I always kept in the loop with BSB and I remember seeing once that some kid called Jonathan Rea had put it on pole at Mondello Park. I thought ‘who the hell is this kid, and how is he getting BSB poles already?’.
“A couple of years later, when I’d come back to BSB, Jonathan and I had a great battle at Mondello. He was on the HM Plant Honda and I was on the Stobart bike, he beat me to take his first ever BSB win and I remember turning to him on the podium and saying ‘that’s the first of many kid’. We’d had so many good battles, I knew he was the real deal!
“He spent a lot of years with Honda and a lot of people had written the bike off but there were times where Jonathan made it dance. He then went to Kawasaki and absolutely bossed it, even though the rules had changed and in theory wouldn’t suit the Kawasaki as well.
“This year things were even tougher – but he pulled it off. You could liken him to Marquez, someone who has always ridden his heart out, sometimes almost over the limit but this year, even though there have been races that were really difficult, he settled for a second or third and ultimately become champion.”
‘You could liken him to Marquez, he always rides his heart out’