Superbike legend Foggy clear on Rea's hat-trick hopes
Four-time World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty has paid tribute to Ulsterman Jonathan Rea, who he believes can go on to break multiple records in the series, beginning next season with his third consecutive WSB title with Kawasaki.
Foggy, who won eight world titles during his career - three TT Formula 1 world titles, followed by a matchless four in World Superbike and a World Endurance crown with Terry Rymer back in 1992 - said of the recently crowned double world champion: "I'm one of Johnny's biggest fans and records are there to be broken.
"So yes I think he can go on and win his third World Superbike title next year for sure. I hope he does it as it would be a great achievement."
Fogarty, who set a precedent when he came back to win a North West 200 Superbike race in 1993 while competing full time with Ducati in WSB, added: "I've been singing his praises since about 2010. For me he's been the fastest guy out there for a number of years and had the ability to win it, but the years went by and people started to question my opinion on him."
Many believed, and have stated openly, that Rea's six-year tenure with Honda was maybe too long, but the Blackburn rider fully understands the Ulsterman's reasons for staying until 2014.
The 51-year-old, who also holds the record for most wins in World Superbike with 59 victories, said: "Yes he's jumped on the right package this past two seasons with Kawasaki and proved himself with back-to back titles."
But on Rea's decision to stay with Honda, Fogarty said unequivocally: "I can understand why Johnny stayed with Honda. They are the biggest company in the world and they don't often get it wrong.
"All the years I raced in World Superbike, the Honda was always the fastest bike to be on. For Johnny, it was an older bike and in a lot of ways, maybe wasn't just good enough at that level," explained the multiple world champion.
Earlier this week, Rea said he "wouldn't set any unrealistic goals", but an inspired Foggy believes the Ulster ace has the talent to keep on winning titles for a number of years to come.
"I look back at my career and even though I've got the record with four titles, I think to myself, 'I should have won it in 1993,' he reminisced of the season that saw him win 11 races on the Ducati, but dramatically lose the championship to American Scott Russell.
"Looking back I got four titles, but for me it should have been six or seven.
"That's me being a racer, I think about the races I lost and not the ones I won.
"There's no reason why Johnny can't go on and do the same and I certainly hope he wins a third in 2017."