Jonathan Rea admits he’s yet to really push the boundaries on the factory Repsol Honda RC213V.
But that didn’t stop the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland making quite an impression on his MotoGP debut at Misano in Italy on Sunday, where the World Superbike star finished in a respectable eighth place behind American Nicky Hayden.
Given that Rea’s time to adjust to the unforgiving 1000cc prototype and the nuances of unfamiliar Bridgestone rubber has been severely limited, his accomplishment at the San Marino Grand Prix is all the more worthy of the utmost praise.
The Ulster rider has yet to throw Casey Stoner’s factory Honda down the road after three test days and his maiden race in the elite championship - no mean feat for a rider completely new to the class.
Despite being cast to the media in his role as merely a temporary replacement for injured world champ Stoner, HRC aren’t fooling anyone.
The bottom line is that Rea’s potential to make the step to MotoGP full-time in 2013 is being scrutinised at the highest level.
Perhaps the opportunity is just rewards for his unswerving loyalty to Honda in World Superbikes, a series in which Rea has been the only rider in recent seasons capable of putting a clearly disadvantaged CBR1000RR Fireblade on the top step.
However, it’s more likely that Rea’s priceless triumph in the legendary Suzuka 8-Hour race in Japan is what really won the hearts of Honda’s bosses.
The event is of huge significance to the Japanese manufacturer and there is little more Rea could have done to enhance his reputation.
Only one Honda seat remains for 2013 in the Gresini outfit and Rea will be hoping he can show enough promise at Aragon at the end of September to get the job.
So far, he’s made a pretty good case for himself.