Rea’s hopes of completing a second consecutive Assen WorldSBK hat-trick were dashed, as was Razgatlioglu’s efforts of winning a first race this season, by contact that has often been made between the two, but never resulted in the two riders crashing out. 

Attempting to stop the recent trend which has been losing out on victory to Rea and Bautista, Razgatlioglu appeared even more determined to keep the two 2022 race winners behind him. 

That meant using his late braking prowess to keep ahead of Bautista at the Geert Timmer chicane on lap three, and once again at turn one against Rea. 

But with Rea and his ZX10-RR making significant improvements over the winter regarding traction coming out of corners, it was at that same turn one where Rea was immediately on the Yamaha rider’s case. 

Razgatlioglu, who got a poor exit out of the final chicane, was compromised for speed as Rea got alongside him. However, the Turkish star somehow kept his R1 on-track and therefore avoided missing the corner, but the reigning world champion had to compromise his speed once again on the approach to turn two, which allowed Rea to get alongside. 

But that’s as far as the attempted overtake went as Rea and Razgatlioglu made contact before the pair simultaneously hit the deck. 

Speaking about the crash which followed a Superpole race in which he made history with Kawasaki, Rea added: “With the crash in race two, from my point of view, I drew alongside Toprak on the start-finish straight. He braked 15 metres later than normal. He then stopped the bike on the kerb before going off and sacrificed so much speed and my normal apex racing line was so much faster. 

“In this situation at Assen normally the guy on the outside gives way, because someone is coming on the inside. 

“Like I did in turn one, in the first lap of the race with Lecuona. I went deep - and I understand that you can’t come back onto the track. You cannot make sudden movements into the racing line. 

“I was committed to my line going into T2 later in the race. I was in front when we came together because he hit my hip on the rear side. Unfortunate, as it really soured our weekend. My team gave me an incredible bike for the race.”

Rea believes fans were robbed of a WorldSBK classic!

“I am frustrated for myself, but also Toprak and the fans. We were deprived of a good race. Two into one when that happens doesn’t work,” added the six-time world champion. 

“We have to be happy with taking 100 race wins for Kawasaki in the Superpole Race. It was a great morning for us! It didn’t finish in the best way but I think we can take a lot of confidence that our package is working really well.”

While Rea suggested Razgatlioglu was more at fault, Razgatlioglu believes it was a racing incident due to never leaving the track. 

Razgatlioglu added: “I tried to brake hard at the first corner and I ran a little bit wide, but I didn’t go outside the track. I’m turning also onto the racing line. 

“I touched the kerb but I stayed on the racing line, I didn’t come back inside. I saw Jonny and he was very fast. After, we crashed. I think for me this is a racing incident. 

“I think Jonny needs to look at me. I go a little bit wide, I stay on the track, but he’s not looking. He’s just opened the gas and we crashed together.”

Bautista the big winner from Rea-Razgatlioglu drama; ‘I was so lucky’

Of course, the big winner from today’s clash was Alvaro Bautista who has regained the championship lead thanks to a dominant race two win. 

After the two leaders went down, Bautista was briefly relegated to second by Iker Lecuona as the Ducati rider had to take avoiding action. 

In fact, Bautista could easily have been caught up as he missed Razgatlioglu’s bike by just a few inches: “I was fighting with Toprak and Jonathan, I had some fun. But in the first corner Toprak went a bit out and Jonathan went very fast in the same line that Toprak was trying to recover and they touched. I was so lucky because I didn’t touch their bike for just a few millimetres.”

However, the Spaniard quickly responded before opening up a nine second lead come the checkered flag. It means Bautista’s lead over Rea is 18 points heading to Estoril next month