Toprak Razgatlioglu has revealed the rivalry between himself and Jonathan Rea hasn’t always “looked great” behind the scenes.
The pair fought hard for last year’s title with Razgatlioglu coming out on top by just 13 points. Their battle has continued this season, although they have been joined by Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista in the fight for the championship.
“After six years of his dominance, Jonathan Rea was undoubtedly the biggest hurdle that I had to overcome," said Razgatlioglu in the latest episode of The Power of Sport, which is available to watch on Eurosport, discovery+ and Eurosport’s digital platforms.
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“We had a very good relationship at the start of last season. We respected each other greatly. But as the year progressed and the title race heated up, things started to change a little.
“Things between me and Jonathan might have looked positive on camera, but it wasn’t all that great behind it.
“That year there was a completely different Jonathan Rea, both on and off the track, but because we put all that effort in it was a great season for me.”
Bautista leads the Superbike World Championship by 31 points from Rea, with Razgatlioglu bringing himself back into contention after doing the triple at Donington Park and winning two races last weekend in the Czech Republic. He trails Bautista by 38 points with six events remaining.
Rea also enjoys the rivalry and sees similarities between himself and the Turkish rider.
“Sport either needs heroes or rivalry’s and now with Toprak it’s really good,” said Rea. “He’s the same animal as me, ruthless on track.
"When he first road a superbike, I always looked after him. I always wanted to support him with advice. I took him on countless laps behind me, showing him the line, showing him how to ride.
“Two riders from different countries, two different manufacturers, it’s a great fight with him every weekend. We had some huge run ins just last season – on circuit and off the circuit.
“It’s up to us to exploit our strengths and brush up on our weakness and fight with these guys.”
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The latest episode of The Power of Sport is available to watch on Eurosport, discovery+ and Eurosport’s digital platforms.
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