World superbike champion Jonathan Rea took a day out from his testing schedule today, to visit Buckingham Palace and receive his MBE from Prince William.
Having set the fastest time of the day in Monday’s winter test at the Jerez circuit in Spain, the Carole Nash backed star headed to London, where he received his medal for services to motorcycle racing.
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is himself a keen motorcyclist and three-time champion Rea said that the pair talked about bikes during the presentation. Along with brother Harry, the prince rode dirt bikes across Africa in a 2008 charity ride, although Jonathan let slip that the prince, like many riders, has put bikes on the backburner following marriage and the arrival of his children.
“(I’m) so grateful to be awarded my MBE from the Duke of Cambridge,” Rea Tweeted. “This is more than a dream and I am so grateful for all the support I have and the opportunities that come my way!”
Jonathan is expected to be back at work tomorrow, when testing resumes in Jerez. With a number of MotoGP riders expected to join the test, it will be interesting to see how the three-time champ and his Kawasaki ZX-10RR compares to the Grand Prix riders and their multi-million dollar machines.
The test also sees several British superbike stars testing over the five day period, with Leon Haslam impressing on his return from injury. The Brit was faster than many world championship regulars, despite riding a lower-specification British championship Kawasaki, and ended day two just a second slower than Tom Sykes on his world championship version of the ZX-10RR.