Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea are set to continue their epic 2021 WorldSBK battle this weekend in what’s arguably the most highly-anticipated title decider ever. 

Razgatlioglu, who has not relented the championship lead since Jerez, has built upon his lead in recent rounds, even after a mechanical issue in Portimao resulted in a smaller gap than it should have been. 

Even with the Turkish star crashing out in the second race due to the problem, the Pata Yamaha rider has a commanding 30 point lead over Kawasaki’s Rea.

The six-time world champion had been dragged into his most challenging season since joining the team in 2015 - 2021 is the first time in seven years that he heads into the final round behind. 

Rea, who has the same amount of podiums (28) and two less wins than Razgatlioglu (11) saw his early season lead disappear due to uncharacteristic crashes at Donington Park and then again in Most. 

That was all before a double crash at Portimao - a race track he has utterly dominated at in recent years.

On the other hand, consistency has been the name of the game for Razgatlioglu who has been no lower than sixth in any race he’s finished, as opposed to a 20th for the Northern Irishman. 

But with 30 points separating the two fierce rivals and a possible 62 up for grabs at the inaugural Mandalika round in Indonesia this weekend, how does it compare to previous years? 

Well, the last title decider was in 2014 as Tom Sykes lost a 14 point lead to Suzuki’s MotoGP test rider Sylvain Guintoli.

Guintoli, who started the weekend 14 points down, went on to take a double win at the Losail International Circuit, while Sykes was third both times which included team-mate Loris Baz keeping hold of second place in the opener. 

Had Sykes won the title it would have been back-to-back championships for the Huddersfield-born rider, instead Sykes was then joined by Rea and we all know how that story unfolded. 

Prior to 2014, the last title decider to arrive on the WorldSBK scene came in 2009 when Ben Spies won the title for Yamaha - still holds the last title win for the Japanese manufacturer which will all change should Razgatlioglu come out on top this weekend. 

In that 2009 season Spies went up against Noriyuki Haga who rode for Ducati. Like Sykes, Haga went into the final round with a lead, albeit a relatively small one which completely evaporated in race one as he crashed at Portimao.

Spies would go on to win that race, before finishing fifth in the second race. Haga managed to better the American and finish second in race two, but the mistake of race one was enough to decide the title in Spies’ favour.

How would a crash affect this weekend? Well, Razgatlioglu’s above-mentioned 30 point lead means a possible mistake could prove to be costly and bring with it un-needed pressure, but it would be unlikely to have as big an effect as Haga’s for example.

What has changed from those two championship examples to now is the added element of a Superpole race. And although it’s not huge points between a win and P2 or P3, every point has mattered this season. 

If we go further back and use an example of a young world champion winning from the lead, a situation that represents Razgatlioglu more, then James Toseland was last to achieve that in a title decider. 

In 2004 Toseland, who was an underdog at the time, got the better of Ducati team-mate Regis Laconi to become the youngest ever champion at the time - a status he still holds and will do so no matter who wins this weekend. 

It was a win that went somewhat against expectation and even to the point where Toseland felt like the team favoured Laconi heading into it. 

Toseland told the official World Superbike website: "I won the championship against the grain, and I wasn’t Ducati’s preferred choice, especially with the French market. 

"There were no celebrations as we had to respect the other side of the garage… I took it personally, and it was a rollercoaster of emotions about the journey of getting there and I wish that some people could have seen that who are no longer with us."

After moving to Honda in 2006, Toseland would go on to repeat his success from a leading position in 2007 as he came out on top against Haga. 

Toseland’s two title wins came by a combined margin of nine points - just two in the 2007 season, something we would do extremely well to match come Sunday in Indonesia.