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I have no animosity towards Toprak Razgatlioglu, insists Jonathan Rea as he moves on from Assen crash

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Back to business: Jonathan Rea has moved on from the crash in Netherlands with Toprak Razgatlioglu. Credit: Graeme Brown

Back to business: Jonathan Rea has moved on from the crash in Netherlands with Toprak Razgatlioglu. Credit: Graeme Brown

Back to business: Jonathan Rea has moved on from the crash in Netherlands with Toprak Razgatlioglu. Credit: Graeme Brown

Jonathan Rea says he has moved on from his clash with World Superbike champion Toprak Razgatlioglu at Assen as he bids to reduce the gap at the top of the standings this weekend at Estoril in Portugal.

Rea and Yamaha rider Razgatlioglu came together in the final race at the Dutch circuit last month, with both crashing out.

The incident denied Rea the chance of a hat-trick and allowed Spaniard Alvaro Bautista to wrap up 25 points and his third win of the season to open a cushion of 18 points at the top over the Northern Ireland rider.

Both Rea and Razgatlioglu have blamed each other for the incident, but the 35-year-old says he bears no ‘ill-will’ to his Turkish rival and is simply focused on round three of the series, where the first race of the weekend takes place today at 2pm UK time.

“I called it as I saw it and it was a complete racing accident,” said Rea.

“When someone makes a mistake like that in T1, goes wide and decelerates so much, I had right of way on the track; I was on the inside, my head was on the inside of the bike facing the corner, and unfortunately we came together.

“I don’t want to be a diva and start placing blame, or have any animosity about it – it happened. It didn’t need to happen, there could’ve been a little bit more care on both sides, but we’re both racers and I understand that.

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“There is no ill-feeling, he’s a super-cool guy, a super-competitive guy, so I can park that. But I can also put my helmet on and race him bar-to-bar at all the circuits around the world,” added the six-time champion.

“It’s unfortunate that we both went down, it was a racing accident and there are differences of opinion, I respect his but it probably didn’t need to happen.”

Rea has enjoyed some downtime over the past few weeks since Assen and was among the spectators at the North West 200 last Saturday, where he flagged off the feature Superbike race.

However, it’s back to the serious business of the world championship for Rea today, who expects Bautista and Ducati, plus Razgatlioglu on the Pata Yamaha to be strong contenders at Estoril.

“Ducati have been strong here, Chaz (Davies) has been super-strong here in the past, obviously Scott (Redding) was very strong here last year,” he said.

“I think the bike and package of Alvaro’s is very similar to those guys and he’s riding very well right now, so I expect him to be in the mix.

“I expect the Yamahas to be strong here as well, but also us – the expectation is to be able to fight at the front, so we have to work very well to do that and hopefully we can put a package together that can enable us to fight for podiums and eventually race wins.”

Tomorrow’s Superpole race is scheduled for 11am UK time with race two at 2pm.


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