Rea reduced Alvaro Bautista’s title lead from 36 to 17 points in the process, but it was very much a 'glass-half-full' scenario, having been unable to prevent Toprak Razgatlioglu romping to three wins, while Bautista made a late pass to snatch second in the final outing.

The UK heatwave seemed to upset Rea’s ZX-10RR more than rival machines, prompting some big weight-balance changes throughout the weekend. But it wasn’t enough to match reigning champion Razgatlioglu, who took the lead into turn one of all three outings and led every race lap.

While Razgatlioglu disappeared into the distance during race one on Saturday, Rea felt only a lack of experience with the SCX tyre prevented a stronger challenge to the Yamaha star during the 10-lap Sunday morning Superpole race.

“We used this SCQ tyre for the first time. I was quite convinced the tyre would be good, just I thought Toprak’s pace in the beginning was going to smash the tyre, so I actually was quite conservative in the first couple of laps," he explained.

“That's where he did the damage. He was able a get second and a half. Then from lap 4 to 8 I felt the same more-or-less as strong and we crossed the line not too far apart.”

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But the third and final race saw the biggest battle, Rea hounding Razgatlioglu for the opening half of the 23 laps, only for the Turkish rider to instantly respond to every pass.

Rea was so close to Razgatlioglu that his throat became dry from the R1s exhaust fumes, but the relentless close combat also cooked his front brakes.

“I felt really good for half the race, I was able to understand where I was good and where I had to improve. But I really overcooked the front brakes,” Rea said.

“Donington is one of the hardest tracks on the brakes, especially that last sector where I was struggling.

“It also didn't help that I was really in Toprak’s slipstream, right on his back tyre, in fact my throat started to get really dry because I was getting exhaust fumes most of the first half of the race.

“So I wasn’t cooling my disc and I'm sure if we checked the data it would be record highs, because all the power from the brake was fading quite fast.

“I went into the Melbourne Loop two times and the lever came right back to the bar. It was all my power to not hit Toprak sometimes, so I had to take some time just to cool down a little bit.”

But there was no time to rest with Bautista closing to within striking distance.

“Alvaro arrived with a really strong pace, so unfortunately he came through and it was all I could do just to keep my rhythm and finish on the podium," Rea said.

“Rinaldi was right behind me and Bassani was in the top seven, so the Ducati is working well, [but] we know how strong a package it is so we just focus on ourselves.

“Alvaro’s done a good job today and I feel as the big picture we've also done a decent job.”

Rea: ‘Big picture’s OK, but still frustrating not to win’

“I'm happy with weekend, to come out with 2-2-3 is strong. Yesterday we were fortunate to get a bit of a gift with points [from Bautista’s fall], which halved the deficit in the championship this weekend," said the six time world champion.

“So the big picture’s OK, but still frustrating not to win. I really wanted to win here, but you never know what to expect.

“I knew it was going be tough because Toprak’s very strong here. Also Yamaha in the past, van der Mark was fast here.

“It wasn't worse than expectations, but I wanted to win. So I’m disappointed, but I feel like we got the best out of what we could and that's our reality right now.

“We also made some good changes to the bike from yesterday to today. I feel we’re learning still a little bit about the bike in the hot temperatures, it really was a weak area for us and I think now we can be happy.

“Especially after Misano, I felt a lot closer here and it's encouraging to go to Most and see what we can do there.

“I feel like I've got some unfinished business there because last year was a tough weekend for me and the bike, but it was also the first time we ever visited the track.

“This year we'll at least have some data, although I know they've resurfaced quite a lot of the circuit.

“It's a fun track, like Estoril. The first time I visited Estoril I wasn't so good, the next time we went back we won some races. So that would be incredible if we could go there, win some races before the summer break.

“And the championship’s really close. All three guys are tightened up this weekend.”

Razgatlioglu is now 43 points from the top with seven rounds and 21 races remaining.