The two title contenders had completely different starts on Friday as Toprak Razgatlioglu finished first while Jonathan Rea was second after an FP1 technical issue
The battle to be crowned 2021 Champion in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has gone to the final round, held at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit as the new circuit makes its WorldSBK debut. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will go head-to-head throughout the Pirelli Indonesian Round as they fight it out for glory.
Razgatlioglu heads into the final round with a 30-point advantage over Rea and he was straight out of the blocks in Free Practice 1, lapping 1.544s quicker than his rivals. In FP2, Razgatlioglu once again topped the session although the gap had come down with Rea claiming second place, just 0.174s behind Razgatlioglu’s time of 1’34.320s; all riders improved in FP2 compared to FP1.
Explaining his Friday at the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit, Razgatlioglu said: “This morning, we started very well, I like this track. I very quickly adapted but this morning it was not easy for everybody because it was a dirty track, and everybody tried for the best time. It’s now clean, the grip is much better, in the afternoon I enjoyed it. I tried a race simulation; I was feeling good. I see the track after one lap, I learnt the track directly. I see the first lap is a 1’39s, then a 1’37s. A really fast lap. I am surprised, but I like this track. I learnt it quickly but there are some strange corners at this track, but I like it, because for everybody it’s a new track. We are feeling very good.”
Rea’s morning was hampered by an issue that left him in his garage for around 25 minutes, with the six-time Champion completing only ten laps in the first 45-minute session and posting a lap time of 1’37.985s. In FP2, Rea completed 22 laps and was able to find around three seconds to post a 1’34.404, less than two tenths away from Razgatlioglu’s fastest time.
Discussing his issue in FP1 and how that impacted him throughout the day, Rea said: “I didn’t get a really good rhythm straight away but step by step I was there, learning the track. We made a pit stop and had a technical problem. My session was over. Luckily, we found the issue at the very end and I was able to get an out lap to understand that for FP2 it should be okay. In FP2, we evaluated two different items on the bike. I did two runs and I felt quite good. It’s difficult when you lose half of the first session because you don’t have the rhythm and FP2 was about building that, building my confidence. There are a couple of key areas where we can improve tomorrow and still the feeling on my bike isn’t perfect, so we need get some margin to improve for tomorrow.”
The pair have been fighting hard all season and this is reflected in the stats, with Razgatlioglu on 13 wins compared to Rea’s 11 while both have claimed 28 podium finishes. The battle will rage on between the pair throughout the Indonesian Round, although Razgatlioglu can claim the title in Race 1.
WorldSBK machines will be back on track from 09:00 Local Time (GMT+8) tomorrow with FP3. Watch all the action using the WorldSBK VideoPass!