MotoGP legend Rossi said during the Americas Grand Prix weekend that Rea not getting a full-time ride in MotoGP was “a great shame”, and feels he could still be fast in the premier class of grand prix racing.
Rea contested two grands prix with Honda as Casey Stoner’s injury stand-in at Misano and Aragon in 2012, scoring two top eight results and impressing HRC in the process.
Despite several flirtations with a MotoGP switch, Rea has remained in WSBK, where he has won a record six world titles and taken 107 race victories to date.
Commenting on Rossi’s words in an exclusive interview with Autosport/Motorsport.com, Rea said: “To have this quote from Valentino is really nice because he is the greatest of all times in motorcycle racing and we have a lot of respect for each other.
“Sometimes he sends me some messages after a race or vice versa, and I think I’m a big fan of him and what he has done in his career.”
Rea added: “Of course it is a shame because I never had the chance [to race in MotoGP full-time].
“I had the chance to do two wildcards in 2012, I was seventh and eighth, no bad.
“But it is what it is. I had some difficult moments in my career with my previous team [Ten Kate Honda], some great times, some tough times.
Valentino Rossi, Petronas Yamaha SRT
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“But when I joined Kawasaki I’ve been super happy.
“Life has been really good, I’ve been winning. The only question mark I have to ask myself is what could I do in MotoGP? Because I don’t know.
“I can’t have regrets because I never had the chance. But this is life.
“Riders can’t make their way in life, you have to go with the opportunities and unfortunately for me I never had that chance.”
Kawasaki rider Rea currently trails Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu by 24 points coming into the penultimate round of the 2021 WSBK campaign in Argentina.