Links between Jonathan Rea and the MotoGP paddock happen every year, and it probably has something to do with the Northern Irishman’s complete dominance in the World Superbike Championship.
For 2021, the situation is no different – though Rea’s absolute reign in WorldSBK is certainly under question from the results posted by Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, now that the Turk is on the PATA Yamaha YZF-R1.
Still, Rea is perhaps the most deserving rider of a GP ride in motorcycle racing right now, and there are hints that the six-time World Champion could be headed to MotoGP.
Reported by the reliable Matthew Birt for MCN, the rumor is that Jonathan Rea is talking to the Petronas Yamaha squad as a possible replacement for Valentino Rossi, should he decide to retire at the end of the 2020 season.
With Maverick Viñales set to leave the factory Yamaha MotoGP team as well at the end of this season, the shakeup in Yamaha’s grand prix ranks is large enough for anything to happen (including Morbidelli going into the factory seat), so Rea’s move isn’t necessarily contingent on Rossi leaving the premier class.
Interestingly enough though, the same opportunity has been linked to other WorldSBK riders in the past, including Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Garrett Gerloff, both of whom have re-upped their contracts with Yamaha’s SBK efforts.
Rea hasn’t given an outright “no” to the rumors this weekend, while racing at Assen, but he has also tempered their optimism.
Like a good racer, Rea has left all his options open for now, and one has to wonder how much said rumors could influence any contract negotiations that are underway with KRT for future World Superbike seasons.
Establishing himself now as the greatest Superbike rider of all time, Rea’s legacy could only be hurt by rough entry in MotoGP.
Then again, if he were to finish his career with some GP race wins in the premier class, it could only help to bolster his legendary status.
Source: MCN via Paddock Pass Podcast