Razgatlioglu and Rea were involved in their most high-profile incident yet in Sunday’s second full-distance race at Assen, the pair crashing out simultaneously after making contact during their lead battle exiting Turn 1.

Both riders blamed each other for the collision, each saying the onus was on the other rider to avoid the crash.

It followed a number of close calls between the two during their bitter title rivalry in 2021, with Rea suggesting Razgatlioglu was too aggressive in battle at Portimao and the Yamaha rider hitting back by calling his rival “scared”.

Bautista, who had a front row seat for the latest incident between Razgatlioglu and Rea from third position, didn’t want to point fingers at any one rider, but felt that it was a matter of time before they were involved in a major crash. 

“It seems like Toprak went a bit wide, so he went over the kerb, but not out of the track – just on the kerb,” recalled Bautista. “Jonathan was on the inside but behind. 

“Jonathan was faster, looking for a normal line. But Toprak was on that line [already] so they stayed together in the same place at the same moment – and there is no space for two riders and they touched.

“They touched in the past, but this time it happened [that they crashed]. One time it has to happen because we see many many impacts from them in the past. 

He added: “[Razgatlioglu] tried to recover the line and Jonathan was on the correct line. For sure Toprak cannot see if Jonathan is coming or not. 

“The rider who is behind has to see the other rider. [You cannot just say] ‘Okay, he went out, I just look at the next corner and do my line’. 

“And the rider on the outside is in front, so he cannot see who is coming from behind, and maybe Toprak thought that if somebody comes, he will see him. So it is complicated to say something [about who is to blame].”

Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati

Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bautista was the biggest beneficiary from the altercation between Razgatlioglu and Rea, as it allowed him to take a dominant victory and retake the lead in the championship.

The Ducati rider now finds himself 18 points clear of Rea in the standings, with Razgatlioglu 45 points adrift after failing to win a race in either of the first two rounds.

While admitting that luck was on his side last weekend, Bautista said he was more happy about the set-up breakthrough that allowed him to be in the hunt for victory in the first place.

“On Sunday morning in the warm-up my team changed the set-up of the bike,” said the Spaniard. “Sometimes you have good luck, sometimes your time. For me right now the championship is not important.

“I’m happy not because I won, today I’m happy because I recovered again a good feeling with the bike and that’s important.

“This is the important thing to win a championship, to have a good feeling with the bike, to go fast but always stay within the limit – just to have a bit of a margin.

“From Friday to Saturday here I didn’t have a feeling like in the winter test. We compared what we had before and what we have now, and there was a big difference. 

“There was something wrong with the bike but fortunately we found the solution and suddenly this Sunday morning I felt ‘boom, again fast’.”

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