In what was a truly brilliant title fight with eventual champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, a battle that was built on hard but fair racing, the six-time world champion lost his crown for the first time since 2015.

After years of success with Kawasaki which has continued on to 2022, Rea has now discussed an incident that left him in a ‘really bad place’ mentally.

Magny-Cours, host to one of the most thrilling rounds last season, was also the venue where Razgatlioglu had appeared to clinch his first-ever clean sweep - winning all three races on the same weekend. 

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However, that was not to be the case as a video was later captured by a Dorna cameraman, showing Rea and crew chief Pere Riba discussing an apparent track limits infringement made by Razgatlioglu in the Superpole race.

Razgatlioglu, who indeed did cross the green paint on the final lap while leading, had initially taken victory by the narrowest of margins. But this was later overturned. 

Rea claims Dorna ‘painted me as a real villain’

The video released by Dorna [the exclusive commercial and TV rights holder for WorldSBK] proved to be the catalyst for overturning the result, however, damage was already done as it opened the floor for heavy criticism, or in this case awful social media abuse towards Rea, which the Northern Irishman claimed could have been avoided by Dorna. 

Speaking on the BBC Bike Podcast, Rea recalled the incident saying: “I could see he was on the green, it was clear, and I was fighting for points. It's a world championship on the line, I don't train hard, make sacrifices regarding my family time and risk my life, everything, just to accept somebody taking advantage of a situation.

"My team and manufacturer don't put millions of euros a year into the sport for me to accept that. 

"Dorna threw me under the bus a bit, putting words in my mouth in a video. If that hadn't gone out it would have been ok. They painted me as a real villain and weren't very apologetic about it either.

Rea becomes the latest WorldSBK rider to receive death threats…

"I was on my way home on my own and checked my Instagram. My mate had put up a generic race quote and there were 500 comments within an hour of the was like 'you're going to die', 'we know where you live', 'you're this and you're that'. I felt terrible.

"I got sucked into reading all these terrible comments. I'm so lucky with my fans, I generally get 95% love and 5% hate but this time was the opposite, so I wasn't in a great place."

All too common nowadays, social media has become a platform that’s home to extreme criticism, abuse and finger-pointing.

Yes, it’s a great tool for some and one where reputations and careers can grow, however, the negatives can be just as poignant.

Garrett Gerloff, who recently spoke to in an exclusive interview, also revealed how social media abuse affected him last season after a coming-together with Razgatlioglu in Assen.