The two-time World Superbike champion has been awarded the recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to motorcycling.
Rea, who is 50 points clear in the World Superbike Championship as he bids to become the first rider ever to win the title in three successive years, said: “I received a letter a couple of months ago to accept that my name had been put forward for the MBE and I ticked the box that says, ‘Yes I do’ and sent it back.
“I think the most important thing is that I got more messages on my phone about the MBE than I did when I won the championship.
“It seems like a bigger accolade to have, for the general public. It means that you are recognised in open society, not just as a niche sport: that means a lot. It is nice to get motorcycling recognised in the mainstream. Maybe the young Princes had something to do with it, selling motorsport to the Queen,” Rea added.
“Also, heroes like Joey Dunlop have achieved not just an MBE but and OBE (Order of the British Empire) as well, so to join him as a Member of the British Empire is really cool. Also Foggy, the most dominant Superbike rider of all time, so I am putting my name along with good people.”