With the 2022 WorldSBK season expected to be another thrilling battle between early title favourites Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea, the latter will need improved bike performance if he’s to regain the title according to Guim Roda. 

Despite finishing just 13 points behind Razgatlioglu, Rea often looked on the limit of what his ZX10-RR was capable of, much more so than the Yamaha rider and even Ducati’s Scott Redding. 

It’s part of the reason Rea had more race crashes than those two - suffered five of his six falls in race situations - while Razgatlioglu and Redding had a slightly more forgiving and consistent package underneath them. 

This is why Roda, Team Principal of KRT, wants to see another ‘step ahead’ in performance this year, which has been forced by the performances of Razgatlioglu. 

"We know Toprak quite well and we saw the potential of him. He decided to start a new adventure in Yamaha and for sure he performed on a very good level last year," Roda told the official World Superbike website. 

"We expected a little bit more performance from him ahead of this year. I think they really found the way to make the package competitive and he's a rider that is so strong, so clever, very precise and it's not a rider making big mistakes, so it's very hard to beat him. 

"It's nice for the show of the championship and it forces us to make another step ahead. We need to be ready and accept that it’s not always possible to win and we try our best to improve race by race."

While an improved package would greatly benefit Rea in his quest for a seventh title, the Northern Irishman still managed to finish four out of the last six races ahead of Razgatlioglu.  

Speaking to us back in December, Rea said there’s no ‘magic book’ to be more competitive, it’s instead something that comes from finding ‘confidence’ with the bike which he did during those last few races. 

Rea added: "As we’ve seen this year the level in Superbike is really high, not just from riders but from competition from manufacturers. So, I need to step-up, the team needs to step-up and hopefully we can take that into 2022." 

"There’s no magic book to make us more competitive, we just have to make it work by finding the feeling and the confidence. That started to come at the end of the year as I felt like I could ride more free."