Rea turns down crack at MotoGP
The lure of riding in MotoGP alongside the likes of Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and fellow British rider Cal Crutchlow was not enough to tempt Ballyclare's Jonathan Rea away from a sixth season in World Superbike with the Dutch-based Ten Kate Honda squad.
Rea rejected an opportunity to join the satellite Pramac Ducati team in MotoGP -- whom fellow Ulsterman Eugene Laverty is now in talks with -- to remain with the Pata Honda team, where he believes he has unfinished business in the production based series.
Rea, currently convalescing at his home on the Isle of Man after breaking his femur while racing in Germany at the start of September, explained: "It's been a big decision that I've thought long and hard about because there were some other options to consider.
"However, at the end of the day it was an easy choice because of the faith and respect that I have for the team that I've been with for six years and the company that I have been with my entire career," he added.
Looking ahead to next season, Rea said: "I know how hard the guys work to make the Honda competitive and I know that we have the potential to fight again for more podiums and race wins and the championship next season. Those podiums and wins are what motivate all of us and that's why I know that everyone will pull out the stops over the winter again to make them happen.
"We will go into the testing programme in a much better position than we were in 12 months ago because we've worked so hard to get the new electronics package to work this season.
"I am as motivated as ever and really looking forward to riding my bike again," added Rea.
Fellow British rider Leon Haslam will also remain in the Pata Honda squad for next season's World Superbike Championship.
Also on the world stage, Fermanagh's Lee Johnston will take in the final two races of this season's Supersport World Championship at Magny Cours and Jerez with the UK-based PTR Honda squad.
It is certainly a big opportunity for Johnston with the Simon Buckmaster-managed team.
Exciting times indeed for Ulster's bike stars.