Six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea is confident of a 2022 title challenge after better understanding Toprak Razgatlioglu’s strengths in 2021.

Rea was beaten to a WorldSBK title for the first time in seven years by Razgatlioglu in 2021, which was also the first time someone bettered Rea since he joined Kawasaki (2015). 

The first ever Turkish premier class world champion was a model of consistency as he claimed 13 wins and 29 podiums. 

While battling for race wins with Razgatlioglu was nothing new for Rea, the level of unrelenting pressure and speed that was applied by the Pata Yamaha rider is something Rea hasn’t faced in any of his title wins - closing thing to that was the first half of 2019 against Alvaro Bautista.

It was ultimately the type of speed that pushed Rea into several mistakes, however, the Northern Irishman feels he’s in a better position heading into 2022 after understanding the 25 year-old’s strengths. 

When speaking to Crash.net about racing Razgatlioglu on-track, Rea said: "The good thing about me and him in a race is if we’re in a fighting situation he’s going to expect that I’m there and it’s the same when he’s behind me. 

"I sort of know that there’s a pass on anywhere. There’s a lot of races this year where I understood his mentality, his tactics a lot better, how he manages races and that will help me when battling with him in the future."

Rea also continued by saying that the priority is to focus on himself and not focus on any one rider heading into the season. 

Bautista returns to Aruba.it Ducati and could be a factor in the championship, or at least in achieving wins and potentially taking points away from the top two, while Scott Redding has moved to BMW - remains to be seen whether the M 1000 RR can give Redding what he needs to fight for the title.

"Honestly, I’m not focused on anyone because we need to focus on ourselves at the minute," added Rea. "I need to really improve, my team needs to improve and that’s the sole focus of this off-season. 

"Of course, when it comes to talking about who’s going to be the guy next year. Toprak is the one that springs to mind straight away. He has form and has shown that he can be a championship contender. I mean the rest, Scott’s the same, but just the question mark with Scott is how he’s going to manage with BMW."