Rea, who struggled to match Razgatlioglu and WorldSBK champion Bautista in 2022, got off to a slow start on day-one due to a rear brake issue.

However, on the final day of action Rea was back in the mix with both riders as he split the pair courtesy of 1:38.352s.

Less than a tenth off Razgatlioglu come the end of play, Rea showed the type of pace that will give him and Kawasaki promise as they look to win their first title since 2020. 

But despite his battles with Razgatlioglu in both 2021 and 2022, which is also true for Bautista in 2019 and last season, the six-time champion declared their battles as ‘not really a rivalry’. 

"It’s not really a rivalry, it’s just other fast guys," Rea told "They’re great riders and they’re going to be so competitive. At this point, I’m not really thinking of them, I’m thinking about our bike. 

"While we’re making some positive steps, we still have a long way to go. We have a lot of work to do this winter, still. I expect to keep working in Portimao to put things together and then I think Australia is the most positive test. 

"I think WorldSBK now is so deep a field, the new guys that are coming in have got great credentials, great CVs. You have Danilo Petrucci, a MotoGP race winner not that long ago and a great talent; Remy, a Moto2 World Champion two years ago, and then the WorldSSP Champion and runner-up. 

"The riders that have exited have been replaced by proper, proper guys and that’s going to make the fight at the front stronger, but I don’t know which one of those guys is going to be there. 

"The year needs a few rounds to get momentum and understand where everyone is. Hopefully I’ll be one of them!"

Razgatlioglu ‘smiling’ after first WorldSBK test of 2023

The Pata Yamaha rider topped both days of action in Jerez, with the second day seeing him get the better of Rea rather than Bautista.

Both times Razgatlioglu finished just under a tenth quicker than his two main rivals, which came as no surprise to the Turkish star.

"I’m not surprised. I see the result and I’m just smiling because, last year, it was the same," added Razgatlioglu. 

"We were fighting altogether. Now I see again I’m with Jonny and Alvaro and everybody is very close again. 

"It’s not easy to say because the season hasn’t started. Petrucci looks strong. Rinaldi also looks strong. 

"Now, it looks like everybody is very strong. Dominique, Gardner, everybody looks very strong. Locatelli, today, made a big improvement."