Get unlimited access
You have 10 articles remaining to view this month.
Four-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea says he can “do better” than Cal Crutchlow in MotoGP if offered the chance, but is not “jealous” of his fellow Briton.
Rea is now statistically the greatest WSBK rider of all-time after clinching his fourth-straight title at Magny-Cours, while tallying up his 132nd podium and his 69th race victory in Argentina last weekend.
Crutchlow and Rea raced against each other in Britain and briefly in WSBK (pictured below in 2010), with the former departing to MotoGP with Tech3 Yamaha in ’11 while Rea remained in Superbikes.
Rea believes his career path has been “better” than Crutchlow’s.
“It is the right path. I feel that my path is the better path also,” Rea told Autosport. “I’m a four-time world champion in Superbikes.
“In motorcycle terms, one of the most popular athletes in the UK. I’m really happy with my life in general.
“I really respect his [Crutchlow’s] achievements. He has done incredible. He is one of the fastest guys in MotoGP. He is one along with the top three or top four.
“Sometimes I look to him and I feel like I can do that. I can do better. I’m not jealous. I’m proud of him.
“I used to race and beat Cal – certainly more than he beat me. Now he is doing so well in MotoGP.
“I’m really proud, because I could race against him and now he is doing so good.”
In the last 10 years, only 2009 WSBK champion Ben Spies and Crutchlow made it onto factory machinery in MotoGP.
Rea made two starts in MotoGP with Honda in 2012, and was linked with a works ride for ’19, but said all other WSBK frontrunners “never got good teams” when they switched to the premier class.
He used the example of Eugene Laverty, who earned a MotoGP graduation in 2015 in a promising move, only to end up switching from what was expected to be a competitive Honda to a two-year old Ducati in ’16 with the same Aspar outfit.
“They went to MotoGP with factory bikes inside the satellite team,” Rea said of Spies and Crutchlow.
“They had the old bikes from every season. Tech3 is a good team. They received the bikes from Yamaha.
“All the other riders that are gone from Superbike after that never got good teams. Look at Laverty – the same level as Crutchlow.
“They were rivals in British championship then Cal went to Superbike. Eugene went to 250s [now Moto2].
“They were rivals again in World Supersport together. They were the rivals coming through. Cal wasn’t my rival.
“I was the rival of [Leon] Haslam and [Leon] Camier. Cal wasn’t there. He was not the front guy.
“Eugene went there on Aspar Honda, the cheap Honda that were supposed to be amazing.
“It was terrible and almost ended his career.
“From there he went to a two-year old Ducati. Unfortunately he never got the opportunity.
“Cal was the last guy to leave this paddock on a competitive machine.”