History maker Jonathan Rea wrapped up his sixth consecutive WorldSBK title with a stunning fightback as Toprak Razgatlioglu takes Race 1 win
The records and the Championships keep coming for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) as he secured his sixth consecutive MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, although the wait will go on for his 100th win as Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) took a stunning victory for the Pirelli Estoril Round at the Circuito Estoril, while challenge Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) retired from the race with a technical issue.
Razgatlioglu made a good start from pole position and held first place as he converted his first career pole into his second win of the year; following on from his victory at the season-opening Australian Round. He was joined on the podium with Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and American Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) as they fought off Rea to secure a podium place.
Rea started from the middle of the grid following a crash in the Tissot Superpole session but soon found himself inside the top ten as he gained an impressive eight laps on the opening lap, and quickly improved his position on the follow lap as he passed teammate Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) at Turn 1 to move into the podium places.
He moved into second place as he made a move on Gerloff into Turn 1 but the American rookie was able to respond a few laps later, after Davies was able to make a move on Rea to move into second place. Rea and Gerloff engaged in a sensational battle for third during the remainder of the 21-lap race; allowing Razgatlioglu and Davies to pull away at the front as they finished first and second. Gerloff moved ahead at Turn 1 on Lap 14 and started pulling away from Rea as he secured his second career podium.
Rea finished the race in fourth place as he lost ground to the riders in front of him but had a large margin over fifth-placed Leon Haslam (Team HRC), who battled hard with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC); the Spanish rider had been fifth until Lap 20 before he crashed out of the race. Lowes finished in sixth place after being unable to catch Haslam on the last lap.
2021 Ducati rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) finished in seventh place, just behind the Lowes-Haslam-Bautista battle but unable to take advantage of the trio battling each other, finishing ahead of Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in eighth and Frenchman Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) in ninth.
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completed the top ten with the British rider finishing just behind Baz, but 2.5 seconds clear of Jonas Folger (Bonovo Action by MGM Racing) in 11th as the wildcard secured points in his second race of the season, finishing 10 seconds clear of Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team).
Argentinean rider Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) finished in the points as he secured a 13th place finish ahead of Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing HONDA Team) and teammate Eric Granado; the Brazilian finishing in the points in his first WorldSBK appearance of the season. Sheridan Morais (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) finished just outside the points with 16th, with Bautista being classified in 17th place ahead of Loris Cresson (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR).
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) did not finish the race after he crashed out in the second half of the race, with van der Mark not finishing the race after he came off his bike while battling for the podium. Redding retired from the race with a technical issue on Lap 6, effectively confirming Rea as a six-time World Champion as Redding had to win the race, while Matteo Ferrari (Barni Racing Team) did not finish the race.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 1, full results here:
1.) Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team)
2.) Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +3.039s
3.) Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) +4.220s
4.) Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +9.645s
5.) Leon Haslam (Team HRC) +15.732s
6.) Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +15.926s
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