Rinaldi could secure the championship for the second weekend but will face stiff competition
Just two rounds of the European Superstock 1000 Championship remain in 2017, and the fight could go down to the wire as there are four riders who could take the title and are all split by 40 points. Boiling down to the final two rounds, there will be a hotly fought battle at the Pirelli French Round. Last season saw home glory for Lucas Mahias in the class, but this year there is much more on the line – the title.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) faces his second opportunity of securing the STK1000 title, after he was unable to hold off his rivals last time out in Portugal. With an eight point lead in the championship standings and two rounds remaining, it’s a close fight for the unpredictable series. Three victories and four podium finishes have led to Rinaldi to the title lead, but he has faced stiff competition with his Panigale R. Finishing in the top eight last year around Magny-Cours, the 21 year old has had some difficult races in France, but he won’t let this deter him. Taking the strong set-up he has found to Western Europe, will he be able to take the crown with one round remaining?
The man looking to stop Rinaldi is the blindingly fast Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who not only secured the victory around Portimao, but was also able to test the WorldSBK Kawasaki ZX-10RR in the Monday test. With a stunning victory on Sunday, Razgatlioglu treated fans to his typically dominant form which we have seen so often this season. Taking second position in last year’s STK1000 race with his Kawasaki, as well as the victory back in 2014 in the European Superstock 600 class, the Turkish rider will be a force to be reckoned with at Magny-Cours and could well put Rinaldi’s celebrations on hold.
Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team-mates Florian Marino and Roberto Tamburini are two men who could put a stop to Rinaldi or Razgatlioglu’s title celebrations. Frenchman Marino will face his home crowd fresh off the back of a podium finish in Portugal, and only finishing off the podium on three occasions this season, he has been quietly consistent. 22 points behind Rinaldi in the standings he is very much still in with a chance for the title, and with four top 12 appearances around Magny-Cours in the WorldSSP series, he is in with a good position onboard his YZF-R1. Italian team-mate Roberto Tamburini sits in fourth position in the standings and is 40 points behind his compatriot. With two top five positions in France in the STK1000 class, he will no doubt be able to work with his team-mate to secure some strong pace around the 4.4km circuit.
Follow the hunt for the championship charge in the ever unpredictable STK1000 series from 29th September to 1st October, with the WorldSBK VideoPass.