World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea admitted he is interested in moving to MotoGP in 2017, but only should the right opportunity arise.
The 29-year-old Northern Irishman became one of the most dominant champions in WSBK history last year in his first season with Kawasaki, picking up 14 victories en route to the title.
Despite his success, Rea says he would be willing to accept a deal to join MotoGP in the future - with his two-year Kawasaki contract expiring at the end of the year - but would only make the switch on the right terms.
”With the right package I’d love to go there," Rea told Motorsport.com. "It was my dream as a kid and that’s where my heroes like Kevin Schwantz raced.
”It’s certainly where the best riders and bikes of the world are, but it’s not as simple as just having an opportunity and going there - there are a lot more factors to consider when actually signing the dotted line and competing in that championship.
”My manager is always in contact with teams in both paddocks, so we’ll see what happens. There are many riders in both paddocks in their final years of their contract.
”Right now I’m thinking about myself race-by-race, and when I get to June or July that’s when changes start to happen."
Past opportunities declined
In 2012, while part of Honda’s WSBK team, Rea replaced the injured Casey Stoner in the Japanese marque’s factory MotoGP team for two races, finishing eighth and seventh respectively.
Despite subsequently receiving an offer to ride an Open class Honda in MotoGP, Rea opted to remain in Superbikes, joining Kawasaki in 2015.
”In the past there were always opportunities to go there [MotoGP] but for me it was never that interesting, the package that I was offered," Rea explained.
"I think last year I had the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike and in life in general. I don’t have any regrets with the decisions I made, it was never the right opportunity for me to go to MotoGP.
"Kawasaki gave me an incredible opportunity to have a bike able to win the world championship, so I'm enjoying things right now in Superbikes."
Interview by Jamie Klein