That rider is the same man that managed to snap Rea’s streak of six consecutive WorldSBK titles in 2021, Toprak Razgatlioglu

Since Razgatlioglu moved to Yamaha, battles between Razgatlioglu and Rea have been consistent, fierce and arguably the best WorldSBK has ever witnessed.

Not quite able to challenge Rea for the title during his first season with Yamaha, Razgatlioglu did just that in 2021 as he claimed the world championship by 13 points.

Razgatlioglu then got the better of Rea again in 2022, this time by a margin of 27 points, although it was Alvaro Bautista who came away with the title. 

Speaking after last season, Rea was asked who the ‘dirtiest’ rider on the grid is, to which he said: "I couldn’t even name one. Dirtiest is the wrong word because it implies negative, but most aggressive - if you ask me who is the guy that I fear most on the last-lap and had +0 [on my board] then I wouldn’t want Toprak. 

"He’s just going to come through somewhere if it’s possible or not possible. Toprak would be the guy that I’m intimidated by on the last-lap."

While still a brilliant season by most riders’ standards, Rea struggled to be competitive at every round as Razgatlioglu and Bautista won more than double the amount of races Rea did.

Five of Rea’s six wins came during the opening three rounds, and although two of those came at Assen before managing the same result in Estoril, it was the season-opening race that Rea concluded as his best moment of 2022.

"Best moment of the season was winning in Aragon. It’s always nice to start the year off with a win," added Rea.

On the contrary, Rea felt his worst moment was crashing out of second place in Magny-Cours, which was a weekend that began to spell disaster for his title hopes. 

Rea said: "Crashing out of Race 1 in Magny-Cours [was the worst moment]. It was so frustrating because I had a really good pace in Magny-Cours and to end the race like that was a disaster."