A dramatic WorldSBK Race 1 sealed the Championship in favour of Toprak Razgatlioglu after an incredible battle between the top three
A new Champion has been crowned in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK Team) claimed the title after a dramatic and intense Race 1 at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit for the Pirelli Indonesian Round. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) claimed victory in Race 1 but Razgatlioglu’s second place was enough for him to be crowned Champion after the incredible spectacle.
TITLE RIVALS FIGHT IT OUT
Despite some rain falling prior to the start of Race 1, which was delayed and shortened to 20 laps from the original 21, all riders started on slick tyres. Razgatlioglu lost ground as the lights went out for the 20-lap race but battled his way back to lead the race at the start of Lap 3 after overtaking Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) into the right-hander of Turn 1. Behind, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was making his way through the field to briefly lead the race after passing Rea on Lap 4 at Turn 12 and then Razgatlioglu on Lap 5 at Turn 10.
At the end of Lap 5, Rea forced his way through on Bassani on the exit of Turn 16 before Razgatlioglu followed through at Turn 1 at the start of Lap 16, before Rea and Razgatlioglu exchanged first place throughout Lap 6. Rea eventually re-claimed the lead and started lapping around one tenth quicker than his title rival, who remained in second place. On Lap 9, Razgatlioglu took the lead with a move on Rea into Turn 10. Lap 10 featured yet another change for the lead as Rea passed Razgatlioglu into Turn 16, before Razgatlioglu responded straight away into Turn 1. On the same lap Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed second place from Rea with a similar move that Rea made on Razgatlioglu at Turn 16.
Turn 16 continued to provide drama as Razgatlioglu ran wide into the long left-hander at the penultimate corner, losing the lead of the race to Redding and Rea moved into second place with the Turkish star re-joining in third place. Although he lost the two positions, he started chipping away at the gap as he chased down the lead two riders. Rea claimed the lead of the race on Lap 16 at Turn 10, before Redding lost ground trying to respond to Rea’s move allowing Razgatlioglu to close the gap. Redding lost more time at Turn 16 and, despite defending into Turn 17, Razgatlioglu made the title-winning overtake on Lap 18 at Turn 1. Razgatlioglu closed the gap to Rea throughout the final two laps but claimed second place behind Rea to take the 2021 title; although the gap is 25 points, Razgatlioglu has won more full-length races than Rea with Tissot Superpole Races not counting in the event of a tie. The top three in the Championship are now locked into place; Razgatlioglu in first, Rea in second and Redding in third. It means Razgatlioglu has claimed Yamaha’s first title since the 2009 season, when they won with American Ben Spies, and ended Rea’s run of consecutive titles at six. The Turkish star, at 25 years, 1 month and 5 days, becomes the third-youngest Champion of all time, behind James Toseland and Troy Corser. Rea’s victory means he has now won at 21 different circuits, a record for wins at different venues in WorldSBK.
BASSANI CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
Bassani ran in the top three for the majority of the first half of the race and briefly led the race, before he eventually dropped back from the leading three. He eventually finished in fifth place after losing out to Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) in the closing stages of the race, as Locatelli made up ground as track conditions continued to improve.
He had also made a move on Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to move into fifth place and push the Dutch rider down to sixth place; van der Mark showed strong pace again in the difficult conditions as he looked to challenge for a podium, but ultimately fell to sixth place. Locatelli’s fourth place means he moves into fourth in the Championship standings, one point clear of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), while van der Mark could still claim fifth from Rinaldi.
FINISHING IN THE TOP TEN
Alvaro Bautista’s penultimate race for Team HRC saw him claim seventh place after withstanding a late charge from Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven), with Davies looking to end his WorldSBK career on a high note. Argentinean rider Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) claimed ninth place after another strong performance, beating Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who claimed tenth. Sykes had been running inside the top six in the early stages of the race before dropping back.
Despite a strong start and running in the top positions in the early stages of the race, Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished in 11th place; with Bassani in fifth, the battle for Top Independent Rider in 2021 will go down to the final race. Rinaldi finished in 12th place as he lost ground in the race for fourth place in the standings.
Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was another who had strong early race pace but dropped back slightly in the closing stages, finishing in 13th. Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) claimed 14th place with Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claiming the final points-paying position.
Oliver König (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) had made a good start from the back of the grid but had a crash at Turn 3 on Lap 2 from a points-paying position, which put the Czech rider out of the race. Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) was another retirement following a Turn 1 crash in the latter stages of the race, while Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) also retired from the race.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 1, full results here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.670s
3. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +2.155s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +7.644s
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +8.133s
6. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +9.809s
Fastest Lap: Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha): 1’34.288 (New Lap Record)
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 551
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 526
3. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 481
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 283
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 282
6. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 246
WorldSBK riders will be back out on track at 15:00 Local Time (GMT+8) with Race 2, watch it all on the WorldSBK VideoPass!