The Turk’s double win at Donington projects him to the top of the championship leader board. His two-point advantage over Rea might be small, but it marks the start of a rivalry that is set to continue for the rest of the season.

The Yamaha rider has blossomed, and with Redding in obvious difficulty, he looks to be the only real “anti-Rea”, keen to end the Kawasaki rider’s six-year domination. This year’s nine podiums and three wins have grabbed everyone’s attention, Rea’s included, and Razgatlioglu is now seen as the most likely contender for Johnny’s crown.

From 2018 in Superbike, he is now out for Rea’s throne

The 24-year old Turk is definitely the man of the moment in Superbike and further afield too, as his results in recent races have attracted attention also in the MotoGP paddock, Yamaha keen to sign him had he not renewed his SBK contract. In any case, the prototypes look to be written in the Turk’s stars, and the rider may perhaps have a change of opinion if he were to win in WorldSBK already season. Having landed in the championship in 2018, Razgatlioglu immediately stood out for his riding style, aggressive but clean when the track demands it.

He scored his first podium already that season, in Argentina, showcasing his obvious talent. The following year brought his first wins with the Puccetti Kawasaki team (he is the first and only Turkish rider to have won Superbike races), before he moved to the Pata Yamaha team in 2020, adding a level of consistency that now sees him fighting for the title.

Is Rea under pressure from Razgatlioglu?

Razgatlioglu seems to be the rider best equipped to dethrone the Kawasaki champ, seeing as his consistency and overall results are not currently being matched by last year’s championship runner-up, or rather Scott Redding, third in the standings but 66 points from the leader. Meanwhile, Rea is not exactly standing by. As he himself says, his bike is clearly fast and the Donington blip was the result of an error. The six-time champion has already faced off against various rivals in the past, all ultimately beaten after a period of relative equilibrium.

In 2015 Rea got the better of Chaz Davies, winning 14 races to the Ducati rider’s 5. Things were closer the following year against Tom Sykes, with 5 wins for the latter and 9 for the world champ. The biggest wobble came in 2019, when Alvaro Bautista surprised everyone to win the first 9 races, with Rea holding a steady second. Only in the second half of the season did Rea start to clock up the wins, 17 in all.

Throughout his extraordinary career, the English rider has often had to fight off attacks for his throne, and yet this year there’s a feeling that the duel may continue all year long. The balance between the various manufacturers has tipped somewhat, the Yamaha having grown and shown to be the main rival to the Kawasaki, while the Ducati experiences highs and lows, as Redding himself has said. A different kind of balance then, and one that can only add to the show.

Translated by Heather Watson

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