With the 2022 WorldSBK season fast-approaching, here’s a look back at our top five defining moments of the 2021 season, a year that saw Toprak Razgatlioglu become the first ever Turkish premier class world champion.

2021 was one of the best WorldSBK seasons in history, if not the outright best as Razgatlioglu, Jonathan Rea and Scott Redding put on a phenomenal show over the course of 13 rounds. 

Although Redding, who finished third in what turned out to be his final season with Ducati after joining BMW for 2022, was a consistent race winner - took seven wins which was third best - the ex-MotoGP rider was unable to mount a serious title challenge. 

For large parts of the year Redding was anywhere from 40 to 80 points down on either Razgatlioglu or Rea - depending on which rider led at the time, before eventually finishing 63 behind the former. 

That meant the title fight was between Razgatlioglu and Rea who often changed the lead as single-digit margins were a common theme between the two. 

However, that started to grow bigger and bigger from Jerez onwards as Razgatlioglu completed a double win in Spain, before taking wins in Portimao and San Juan. 

His five wins in eight races helped create a 30 point lead heading to the final showdown in Mandalika which proved too much for Rea to overcome despite winning both races.

But with all that said, here are our top five title moments of the 2021 season…

Razgatlioglu recovers from a season-worst qualifying to win two out of three races at Donington Park

After Rea had won four out of the first nine races, while Razgatlioglu had just one victory which came at Misano, getting the better of the Kawasaki rider was something that needed to happen fairly quickly.

But after Rea put it on pole and Razgatlioglu was only 13th, it looked like a damage limitation effort was needed.

However, Razgatlioglu put in the lap of the season to go from 13th to first after just a few corners before eventually winning. Razgatlioglu was unable to replicate that start in the Superpole race, but he did manage to claim victory in race two after putting pressure on Rea who ultimately crashed out. 

Redding loses ground due to early season DNF’s

As already stated, the title battle was mainly between Razgatlioglu and Rea, but that could have taken a very different outlook had Redding shown his mid-season form early on. 

Despite taking a victory in Aragon and Estoril, Redding had a crash during race two in Estoril while battling Rea for the win. The then-Ducati rider would suffer another costly DNF in race one at Donington Park, while the top two finished 1-2. 

It resulted in Redding losing most of the points deficit he finished the season with during the first four rounds, in fact, Redding won the same number of races as Rea from round six onwards. 

Razgatlioglu wins at Rea’s favourites venues

Aside from Assen where Rea did the triple - now has 15 wins at the Dutch circuit, Razgatlioglu managed to win at venues which have typically been Rea’s favourites.

The 25 year-old secured two out of three wins at Magany Cours - was three from three on-track, however, a late appeal from Kawasaki saw the 1-2 order in the Superpole race reverted due to Razgatlioglu touching the off-track green paint on the final lap. 

Razgatlioglu then went on to win race one in Portimao which proved to be a huge moment as Rea crashed from second place. Razgatlioglu also took victory in race one at San Juan - a track where Rea had won four from five since it’s debut on the WorldSBK calendar in 2018. 

Portimao - Costly mistakes by Rea gives Razgatlioglu one hand on the trophy

While Rea had several season defining crashes that helped Razgatlioglu sustain a big points lead, none were more costly than his double DNF at Portimao. 

Rea suffered back-to-back race falls as he crashed from the lead in the Superpole race, which came after the above-mentioned race one error. 

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Although Rea’s early season mistakes in Donington and Most handed Razgatlioglu the title lead, the gap was never more than ten points. 

But that wasn’t the case following Portimao as Rea’s double non-score saw Razgatlioglu have over 50 points advantage. If it wasn’t for Razgatlioglu’s mechanical issue in race two, the gap would likely have been around that same 50 points, however, it was reduced to 29 due to the Yamaha man crashing from second place.

Consistency pays off for Razgatlioglu 

Personal bests in race wins, pole positions, podiums and points finishes were the biggest reason for Razgatlioglu’s 2021 success, along with his mistake-free campaign. 

Razgatlioglu took 13 wins, 29 podiums and 34 points finishes from 37 races, however, a streak of 14 podiums in 15 races was just as impressive. 

From round six to round 11, Razgatlioglu had just one DNF which was another mechanical issue while leading in Catalunya which shows that the Turkish rider’s consistency was at an all-time high. 

Razgatlioglu’s 2021 win total is also more than that of his previous three seasons combined.