Rea, Razgatlioglu point finger at one another over bizarre WorldSBK tangle

Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu hold one another responsible for the collision that dumped both out of Race 2 during Assen WorldSBK round

Jonathan Rea, Toprak Razgatlioglu - Kawasaki, Yamaha

Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu have accused one another of triggering an unusual collision that eliminated both during the final WorldSBK race of the weekend in Assen.

Two riders that fought for superiority within fine margins throughout a clean 2021 WorldSBK title battle, their spotless record came to a sudden end at the start of lap six in Race 2 when they clattered into one another on the run to Turn 2.

Set in motion by leader Razgatlioglu running deep into Turn 1 and washing out wide onto the kerbs, Rea sensed an opportunity to make a pass into the next right-hander. However, when they squared up prior to the braking zone,they  instead found one another coming across onto the same racing line.

Colliding side-on to one another, it caused the Kawasaki and Yamaha bikes to snag and tear each other down onto the asphalt before skidding into the gravel trap. While both riders escaped without serious injury in what they agreed was ultimately a ‘racing incident’, they nevertheless held the other accountable.

“I tried hard braking in the first corner and I go a little bit wide,” defending champion Razgatlioglu said.

“But I am not going outside the track – I touch the kerb but I stay on the race line. I am surprised we crash like this, I do not expect this mistake from Jonathan.”

Rea countered: “In the crash in Race Two, from my point of view, I drew alongside Toprak on the start-finish straight. He braked 15 metres later than normal, he stopped the bike on the kerb before going off and sacrificed so much speed that my normal apex racing line was so much faster. 

“In this situation at Assen normally the guy on the outside gives way, because someone is coming on the inside. You cannot make sudden movements into the racing line. 

“I was committed to my line going into T2 later in the race. I was in front when we came together because he hit my hip on the rear side."

While the clash compounded a disappointing weekend for Razgatlioglu after only a pair of third place finishes, Rea was denied the chance of a triple success around the Dutch venue on a weekend that saw him notch up a 100th WorldSBK win as a Kawasaki rider.

“[The incident was] unfortunate, as it really soured our weekend. My team gave me an incredible bike for the race. I am frustrated for myself, but also Toprak and the fans. We were deprived of a good race. Two into one when that happens doesn’t work. 

“We have to be happy with taking 100 race wins for Kawasaki in the Superpole Race. It was a great morning for us! It didn’t finish in the best way but I think we can take a lot of confidence that our package is working really well.”

Rea’s costly DNF sees him slip 18 points shy of Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista in the overall standings after two events, while Razgatlioglu is already 45 points down on the Spaniard.