Forced magnetic reconnection is a topic of common interest in astrophysics, space science, and magnetic fusion research. The tearing mode formation process after sawtooth crashes implies the existence of this type of magnetic reconnection and is investigated in great detail in the ASDEX Upgrade tokamak. The sawtooth crash provides a fast relaxation of the core plasma temperature and can trigger a tearing mode at a neighbouring resonant surface. It is demonstrated for the first time that the sawtooth crash leads to a dominantly ideal kink mode formation at the resonant surface immediately after the sawtooth crash. Local measurements show that this kink mode transforms into a tearing mode on a much longer timescale ð103s 102sÞ than the sawtooth crash itself ð104sÞ. The ideal kink mode formed after the sawtooth crash provides the driving force for magnetic reconnection and its amplitude is one of the critical parameters for the length of the transition phase from a ideal into an resistive mode. Nonlinear two fluid MHD simulations confirm these observations. VC 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.