Cal Crutchlow has backed Jonathan Rea to be a future success in MotoGP as the British pair prepare to race each other in a Grand Prix for the first time in Misano on Sunday.
Rea has landed a dream chance to show the MotoGP paddock his potential by replacing reigning world champion Casey Stoner at Repsol Honda for the Misano and Motorland Aragon races.
The Australian is currently recovering from surgery to repair extensive damage to his right ankle after a high speed qualifying crash at last month’s Indianapolis race in America.
Rea has tested Stoner’s factory RC213V in Brno and Motorland Aragon and will make his competitive debut tomorrow morning (Friday) when practice commences for the Misano round.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Crutchlow, who scored a landmark first podium at the last race in Brno with third behind Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo, believes Rea can show he’s worthy of a permanent place in MotoGP.
Crutchlow told MCN: “It is good to have Jonny here and it is nice to get another guy to come over from World Superbike because they deserve to be here.
"Giving Jonny a shot on the MotoGP bike is good for him and hopefully he will be able to learn to ride that as fast as he does his World Superbike. But it is not easy.
"I don’t think people understand how difficult these bikes are to ride. But Jonny is not stupid and he will have a decent expectation of what he can achieve. People need to have realistic expectations because he is coming into something he has never done before.
"It is not going to come easy but if there is a guy that is going to come across and who can change his style then it is definitely Jonny. He is at the front in World Superbikes, so there is no doubt that he come here and do good job.”
Crutchlow says the biggest hurdle Rea will have to navigate will be adjusting to the demands of Bridgestone tyres, which are much harder and stiffer than the Pirelli rubber Rea races for the Ten Kate Honda squad in World Superbikes.
Crutchlow himself found the style required to suit the Bridgestone tyres the biggest challenge after he left World Superbikes at the end of 2010 and he added: “A MotoGP bike is hard to ride and you have to be on the limit all of the time.
"It is the braking forces you need, the stopping distances and lean angle you need with the bike and the tyres.
"Where he will lose is in the braking, corner entry and corner speed but that will come with time. It took me a year to figure out how to master that and go fast in that area so people shouldn’t expect miracles from him.”