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'Disrespectful' to name WorldSBK title rivals now – Rea

Current and five-time WorldSBK king Jonathan Rea refuses to be drawn on who he considers is his main title rival for 2020 but admits that former MotoGP man Scott Redding is looking tasty.

After trading lap times and messages with Redding in Barcelona, Rea considered the question of whether the Ducati man would be his main opponent in general, or just at this perennial MotoGP track.

“You cannot discount anybody,” said Rea. “It is a bit disrespectful at this point of the year. We have to forget Phillip Island happened now because the whole shift in momentum, what’s happened, the way the Phillip Island race was run.


"Now we go racing again, especially in the severe heat both at Jerez and Portimao in August. So I am open minded. The challenge could come from anywhere. Scott has so much experience here from MotoGP I expected him to be fast. I have not even looked at the times yet and I could not even tell you who is in the top six.

Scott stands out here with pace and I feel like this is Barcelona, and we have round here out of hopefully seven or eight. I do not want to discount anybody at this stage but of course he is one of the guys.”

With Alex Lowes now his team-mate Rea was quizzed on his new riding partner and intra-garage rival, and having him as a real competitor.

“Not just Alex; the Yamahas are fast. Alex is fast and on arguably one of the best bikes in the series. Next door to me it is clear that the bike and the team works well, so he should perform. He is performing, he is doing great.”

In more general terms Rea said, “I think this year it is more like some guys winning races but the next weekend being off the podium. I think it is very important to be there every weekend on the box. I think that is what will get it done at the end of the year.”

With Michael van der Mark off to BMW from Yamaha in 2021, there has been talk about Loris Baz taking the vacant ride, but also MotoAmerica class act Cameron Beaubier. Rea would be keen on seeing him cross the pond it seems. “It would be great if he came over,” said Rea.

"“What we see Garret Gerloff (current GRT Yamaha rider, also from the US) doing is incredible, I think he is doing a really good job, but no disrespect to him, it is Cameron that has been shining in MotoAmerica in the last years.

"I think it would be really cool if he got the opportunity to come but I also understand the draw to MotoAmerica. He is the guy in a sort of similar situation to what I am in here in WorldSBK. There is a big appeal to be ‘the guy’ in MotoAmerica.

"But I think he could really do a good job, especially if he came in the right circumstances and in the right team – like a factory supported team. He has really got the goods, and not just this year. Even last year in Laguna - Kawasaki always supplies us with a Mule and we always go up the Corkscrew to watch – just some of the subtle things you see Cameron doing on the bike are really clever. I think he is a big talent.”

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