WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea says he has made peace with series sporting director Gregorio Lavilla after the ex-rider branded him 'uncharismatic' in an interview at Portimao.
Lavilla made the statement as part of an answer to why WorldSBK was getting a reputation for being quite boring racing, and what could be done about it for 2019.
Rea, when asked about how he felt about these comments, said, “Of course it was a kind of personal comment, which was kind of viewed in a negative way, but I have spoken to Greg after and I completely understand that what came across was not his intention. For me it does not matter so much.
"It is not nice to hear, but I spoke to him, cleared the air, and I think a lot of people are more angry about the championship, and how the championship is. To point fingers at me, for the reason is – OK I can take it – but I have a lot of fans and friends. I pride myself on being the ultimate professional. I am a very humble guy and I have great family and friends around.
"If that means that I do not get to star in the circus, then, no problem. I am a professional world championship motorbike rider. I am not up here paid to tell jokes. I also do not feel it was accurate either. I give as good as I get, especially with the fans on the slowing down laps, and interaction and what not.
"I always enjoy that side of things. So to hear it first I was a little bit sad and upset. I felt like, 'What do I need to do?'
"These guys have arrived in this championship only a few years ago. I have been part of Superbike since 2009, so I love this championship. It is really hurtful to hear so many people say negative things about it and then for the Sporting Director to say that. But it is all fine.
"We have spoken about it and I understand. It was a tough one for him as well because the way the journalist asked the question – in fact he did not ask a question – he made a statement, and waited for the explosion. And it came.”