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Jonathan Rea insists he will work even harder to get his World Superbike title back next season

Ulster rider insists the hunger to win is stronger than ever

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Jonathan Rea (right) congratulates new World Superbike champion Toprak Razgatligolu. Credit: Graeme Brown

Jonathan Rea (right) congratulates new World Superbike champion Toprak Razgatligolu. Credit: Graeme Brown

Jonathan Rea will be racing as No.65 next year

Jonathan Rea will be racing as No.65 next year

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Jonathan Rea (right) congratulates new World Superbike champion Toprak Razgatligolu. Credit: Graeme Brown

Jonathan Rea’s desire to reclaim the World Superbike title is burning brighter than ever as the six-time champion went down fighting at the championship finale in Indonesia yesterday.

Rea won both races in a mixture of wet and dry conditions at the new Mandalika circuit but it wasn’t enough to prevent Turkey’s Toprak Razgatlioglu from dethroning the Northern Ireland rider, with his runner-up finish in the opening race enough to finish the job.

Postponed from Saturday due to torrential rain, Rea prevailed in race one by 0.670s from pole man Razgatlioglu, with BMW-bound Scott Redding sealing the final rostrum place on the Aruba.it Ducati.

The 34-year-old Kawasaki kingpin then mastered the soaking conditions in the shortened 12-lap race two, coming out on top of a last-lap dice with Redding to complete a double and end the season on a high.

Rea, who went into the decider trailing Razgatlioglu by 30 points, saw his slim title hopes all but disappear when the Superpole race was cancelled after the organisers announced a revised Sunday schedule, leaving a maximum of 50 points available instead of the 62 on the table at the start of the 13th and final round.

Undeterred, he showed the pedigree that has established him as the most successful World Superbike rider ever as Rea won both races in a final act of defiance.

Reverting to his lucky number 65 for 2022 after conceding the number 1 plate to Razgatlioglu, Rea is already plotting his path back to the championship summit .“I feel like with time and experience, the hunger to win is more and more and losing a championship, I can really park that emotion and respect Toprak but I want it back, I want to win again and that will make me work even harder in 2022,” said Rea, who won 13 races in total this season.

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“This weekend, we knew the championship was out of reach – it didn’t depend on us. So in many ways I don’t feel like I have lost the championship here, I feel like I lost the championship in the middle of the year when I made a lot of mistakes and we had some troubles.

“But I have no regrets and I can go home content, and massive congratulations and respect to Toprak,” he added.

“Honestly, I’m not happy to use the ‘65’ again because it means I lost the championship, but it gives me so much good feeling from when I joined Kawasaki, which was life-changing for me, and won a world championship in 2015.

“That number brings back all those memories but I’m going to go and work as hard as I can to get that number 1 plate back.”

Newly crowned champion Razgatlioglu dedicated his maiden title to the memory of his father Arif – a famous stunt rider in Turkey – who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in 2017 along with his girlfriend.

“My dream was, I always said this season, that I might be world champion – this is for my dad,” said the 25-year-old, whose crew chief is Northern Ireland man Phil Marron.

“It is not possible for him to see that I am world champion, but he always said ‘Toprak will be world champion’.

“He died four years ago but today we are champions, and this is for him.”

Results, Race 1: 1. J Rea (Kawasaki); 2. T Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) +0.670s; 3. S Redding (Ducati) +2.155s); 4. A Locatelli (Yamaha) +7.644s; 5. A Bassani (Ducati) +8.133s; 6. M van der Mark (BMW) +9.809s.

Race 2: 1. J Rea (Kawasaki); 2. S Redding (Ducati) +0.283s; 3. M van der Mark (BMW) +7.437s; 4. T Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) +10.641s; 5. T Sykes (BMW) +21.707s; 6. G Gerloff (Yamaha) +24.555s.

Final Championship Standings: 1. T Razgatlioglu 564pts; 2. J Rea 551; 3. S Redding 501; 4. A Locatelli 291; 5. M Rinaldi 282; 6. M van der Mark 262.


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