JONATHAN REA wll stand in for the injured Casey Stoner in Repsol Honda at the next MotoGP races at Misano and Aragon, but he remains realistic about the opportunity to ride for the factory team.
The Ten Kate Honda rider spoke with BBC Northern Ireland after testing the Honda RC213V at Brno, where Rea ended the post-race test with the eighth fastest time of 1:59.565 and three seconds off the quickest lap set by Cal Crutchlow.
"The test was good, it's a completely different motorcycle to what I usually ride in the World Superbike championship. Different tyres, different brakes, electronics, so for me it was like being back at my first day at school," said Rea.
"I didn't want to do anything crazy in the first day, it was more like just baby steps trying to learn and understand the bike before I push 100 percent. I really enjoyed it, the experience was great, the crew is really good and helped me a lot.
"To be team-mates with Dani [Pedrosa] means I can look across the garage and find some really fast data to look at on the computer, to understand why and what I need to go faster."
After sampling the factory Honda at Brno, Rea labelled the test as a 'dream come true' and he further described that riding with the likes Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will be surreal. He continued: "It was quite funny in the test, as I was wobbling around the circuit, Jorge Lorenzo came past and I saw him for like three seconds and then he disappeared, so it was quite surreal to be riding with those guys but they've got two arms and legs like me and hopefully I can figure it out soon and give it a good go."
Asked about what his chances would be as the substitute rider for Stoner, who has undergone surgery to repair damage to his injured ankle from the Indianapolis qualifying crash, Rea said: "As far as goals go I haven't set anything because I think it's a bit disrespectful to the class to think I'm going to go in there and set the world on fire, it's so tough as they are some of the best guys in the world on the best bikes in the world, so I have to treat the class with some respect.
"I think finishing the race and enjoying myself has to be the number one target. After the Aragon test I'll know a bit more, right now it's about trying to be in front of the CRT bikes and enjoying myself, really making this experience count as this has been such a busy year. It's very hard to dedicate all my time to just Superbike or MotoGP now, so to bring them both together is going to be such a tough task, but I'm ready for it."
Comparing jumping off his CBR1000RR superbike to the prototype MotoGP machine he said: "Both bikes require such a different riding style, you know, and to give both 100 percent is going to be tough, but when this opportunity comes along, albeit at the end of the season when I'm fighting for top five in the world, you can't turn it down. It's the biggest thing that has ever happened to me in my career so far and I need to show those guys what I'm capable of and who knows what the future holds."