August, 27 2012
World Superbike star Jonathan Rea is to replace injured MotoGP champion Casey Stoner to test for the Repsol Honda team at Brno and Aragon.
Stoner announced his decision to return to Australia on the eve of this weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix, after doctors advised him to undergo ankle surgery.
Rea, who has MotoGP ambitions, has had a great run of form recently, winning the Suzuka 8 Hours race with Honda in July, and he currently sits fifth in the WSBK championship.
"For me this is a great opportunity to ride one of the best bikes in the world," said Rea, extending his sympathy to Stoner, who fractured his ankle and tore ligaments during qualifying for the Indianapolis GP, and is now expected to miss at least the next two rounds.
"It's not every day that you get this opportunity, so I'm very happy that Honda have put some trust in me. It's still a little bit of a shock but I'm under no illusions about how tough a machine it is, how tough a class it is. I just can't take the smile off my face right now.
Rea has previously tested for Honda in Sepang in 2010, and the Ulsterman is looking forward to testing the 1000cc, describing the bike as “an animal. A proper fire-breathing racing machine.”
With the 2012 WBSK championship now out of the 25-year-old’s reach there will be no commitment clashes for the next two events in Misano and Aragon, should Rea step in for Stoner.