“I’ve lost respect for him…” - Rea, Bautista WorldSBK clash feud rumbles on 

Jonathan Rea adopts a more scathing tone against 2022 WorldSBK title rival Alvaro Bautista following their controversial coming together at Magny-Cours

Jonathan Rea, Alvaro Bautista

Jonathan Rea delivered a more scathing assessment of WorldSBK title rival Alvaro Bautista ahead of this weekend’s eight round at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, as the war of words from their controversial clash in Magny-Cours rumbled on.

The pair came to blows during Race 2 in France after Rea’s forceful attempt to overtake at Chateu d’Eau led to Bautista making contact with his rival's Kawasaki as he dipped for the right hander.

Sending Bautista into the gravel trap for only his second DNF of the season, it allowed rival Toprak Razgatlioglu - who has won eight of the last 11 races - to take a big chunk out the Spaniard’s sizeable advantage to a more approachable 30 points.

The clash, which led to Rea being given a long lap penalty, came in for stinging criticism from Bautista - who accused him of punting him off intentionally - and Ducati, who attempted a failed bid to get the Ulsterman thrown out of the results.

With the series resuming with the penultimate European round of the season, Rea - having maintained a firm but contrite stance in the days after the incident - adopted a sharper tone during pre-event media debriefs, saying he has ‘lost respect’ for his rival and expressed things are ‘completely untrue’.

“I’ve lost a lot respect for him and how he managed the situation,” he told Servus. “I came to offer my apologies immediately after and they were quite accepted. However, I’ve seen the fallout afterwards and things that were said, which are completely untrue.”

“Nothing will change because I have to fight so hard to be there in this incredible battle right now with two other strong rivals, but of course the atmosphere has soured a bit with a lot of things being said in the aftermath in the heat of the moment. 

“There’s a point when you’re overtaking a rider and in this kind of instance, there’s a point of impact and you have to brace as the guy on the inside; this was the clear movement, not an intentional punt. He knows this. 

“Right now, the Championship is so competitive with different manufacturers that we need to step up; the team know that and we’re working really hard to try and do that.”

With the Magny-Cours event marking his lowest-scoring WorldSBK race weekend since joining Kawasaki in 2015, Rea faces an uphill task to secure a seventh title having slipped 47 points adrift of the top spot.