“I hope Razgatlioglu can give Rea some trouble in WorldSBK” - Sylvain Guintoli

The last person to other than Jonathan Rea to win a WorldSBK title - Sylvain Guintoli - is hoping this will be the year the Kawasaki man meet his match

Jonathan Rea, Toprak Razgatlioglu - Yamaha, Kawasaki

WorldSBK Champion and former MotoGP rider Sylvain Guintoli has tipped Toprak Razgatlioglu as the man most likely to dethrone Jonathan Rea from the top of the WorldSBK hierarchy.

Rea is in the running for his seventh consecutive WorldSBK title in 2021 - all achieved with Kawasaki - a run of form that has stretched so far, you need to go back to 2014 and Guintoli to find the last person other than the Ulsterman to win the crown.

However, Rea is facing up to potentially his biggest challenge for the title yet in Toprak Razgatlioglu, who has almost matched his rival for consistency, while three wins from the last four races have now moved him into the overall lead.

It’s a turn of events that Guintoli believes could well spiral into a full on dogged fight for the championship, something the Frenchman is hoping transpires after such a long period of domination.

“Impressing me, yes. Toprak. It’s not surprising because already you could see he had it in him even when he went back on the Kawasaki. He had this fire inside him. 

“He can challenge maybe but for the full Championship, I don’t know. In the wet conditions, Toprak is maybe not as fast as JR. He’s just committed to WorldSBK for another two years, so he really wants to go and challenge for the title. 

“I hope he can give Jonny some trouble. This is good for us that watch the races.”

Has Rea met his WorldSBK match in Razgatlioglu?

It has been a while since we saw Jonathan Rea really duking it out with another rival on track, which is what made his crash out of the lead at Donington Park so unexpected.

Riders have come into WorldSBK and tackled Rea in terms of pure speed - such as Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding - but they didn't or are yet to demonstrate the consistency they need to penetrate such a solid front. 

Razgatlioglu is different though in that he is a rare thing - a product of the production classes who has evolved his style through Superstock, Supersport and Superbike. It means he now has that consistency and experience, plus a style that is just ragged enough to be make a difference but also seemingly has more to come...

And to think this could have been an all-Kawasaki battle had Razgatlioglu not traded his ZX-10RR for a Yamaha R1...