Razgatlioglu hits back at Rea; 'he needs to watch the crash again, his mistake'

After calling their clash a ‘racing incident’ in the immediate aftermath, WorldSBK champion Toprak Razgatlioglu has since claimed Jonathan Rea was at fault for their race two crash in Assen.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha World Superbike Assen
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha World Superbike Assen

Razgatlioglu, who was leading the way during race two in Assen, came under intense pressure from WorldSBK leaders Rea and Alvaro Bautista. 

After the Ducati rider failed to get through on the reigning world champion, Rea made his way past Bautista before attempting to gain the lead on lap seven.

With a sixth consecutive race win at Assen in sight - 18th overall - Rea began his charge by lining up the Turkish rider on the exit of the final chicane. 

All weekend Rea had shown better traction than his two title rivals, and as he got alongside the Yamaha man, a move into turn one appeared to be on the cards. 

Rea, who was also proving to be a match on the brakes for Razgatlioglu, had to settle for second as the race leader went extremely deep and looked like missing turn one. 

However, Razgatlioglu somehow pulled it down, albeit ran onto the curb and lost significant momentum, which therefore gave Rea a shot at overtaking. 

But as Rea lunged for the inside, Razgatlioglu came back on-line which resulted in contact and the dramatic crash. Rea blamed Razgatlioglu in the immediate aftermath, and although the Turk took a more neutral view, that has since changed.

“I think he needs to watch the crash again; from my camera, not his camera,” said Razgatlioglu. 

“I am in front, it’s not possible to see him. I go a bit wide, I close the gap and going to come back. I think he needs to check; he’s not looking to the left. 

Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu, Assen WorldSBK race2, 24 April
Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu, Assen WorldSBK race2, 24 April

“I think his plan is to push me outside; he’s not looking at me. After the crash, I have not spoken with him. I haven’t said anything because he knows, and I know. He’s talking about his side; I am talking reality. 

“I think everybody who watched the video sees it clearly. It’s his mistake because he’s not directly looking at me. It’s better now that we aren’t talking, but maybe later we will talk.”

Wait, wait, wait, Rea counters that by calling it Razgatlioglu’s ‘mistake’

“The facts are that he made a mistake, he’s wide – not completely off the track but wide,” added the six-time world champion. 

“He’s completely slowed the speed down to avoid going off the track and instead of giving room to me, who he knew I’m right beside him because I almost overtook him in turn one, he committed to coming straight back on the track. 

“I was on the racing line, carrying a normal race speed. If it’s a data thing, check my data, it’s probably slower because I anticipated maybe something… but I was through at this point. 

“I expected in this position to have some space. It was unfortunate because we threw away points when I felt like I could have raced for 25.”

Jonathan Rea, Assen WorldSBK race2, 24 April
Jonathan Rea, Assen WorldSBK race2, 24 April

Incredibly, this is the first time that racing between the two has led to a crash for both, which given their fierce battles in 2021, is a testament to both riders keeping it clean. 

But with Sunday being the first time it’s happened, it will be interesting to see how the two approach Estoril and the remainder of the campaign. 

What does this mean for the WorldSBK standings?

While Rea lost out on valuable points, the Kawasaki rider remains within a win of Bautista, so damage to his championship hasn’t been too severe. 

The impact Sunday’s accident had on Razgatlioglu is much more significant, as the Yamaha rider, who remains winless so far in 2022 is now 45 points off the Spaniard. 

Through the opening six races Bautista and Rea have shared the spoils with three wins each.

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