Contrasting starts to the weekend for the title favourites, whilst there’s an array of surprises in between them
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s final round of the season is well underway at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit for the Pirelli Indonesian Round. With the #WorldSBKFinale taking place, Championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) got off to a dream start as he led by more than one and a half seconds, whilst main rival and reigning six-time World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a nightmare, as his team worked on his bike for most of the session, meaning he only completed one full stint and ending the session down in 11th.
Razgatlioglu was one of the first out on track and he took to the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit like a duck to water, with the opposition barely seeing which way he went. Razgatlioglu got three stints under his belt and set a sensational time of 1’34.985, some 1.5s quicker than Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in second. Lowes was in good form as he returned to action and was just marginally ahead of Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). The American came good at the end of the session and will aim to help Toprak if necessary, this weekend. Fourth place went to Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) as he got dialled in at the new venue, hoping to get on terms with Toprak as he looks to lead Ducati to a manufacturers’ title. Completing the top five was the surprise of the morning Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), with the Spaniard looking good on his ZX-10RR and building on the flashes of brilliance he’s shown in recent rounds.
Sixth place went to Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC), as his final weekend with Honda begins. The Spaniard had some technical issues in the opening stages of the session but got back out to improve his time and familiarise himself with the Indonesian venue. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) once again impressed as the 22-year-old took seventh, having been inside the top three for most of the session, which Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) made it five manufacturers inside the top eight. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) took ninth, one place ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), both battling for fourth in the standings, whilst Jonathan Rea languished in 11th, with his crew working on the ZX-10RR for most of the session. He managed to get out for a shakedown sighting lap at the end and will hope to improve later in FP2.
Starting his final weekend as a motorcycle racer before retirement, Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) was 13th whilst Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) returned to action for the first time since Barcelona in September and was 17th. Only one crasher in the session: Oliver Konig (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) at Turn 3, but the Czech rider was back on his feet straight away as his debut got off to a shaky start.
Top six after FP1 at the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit, full results here:
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 1’34.985
2. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.544s
3. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +1.600s
4. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +1.835s
5. Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +2.094s
6. Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +2.099s
Watch the #WorldSBKFinale in style with the WorldSBK VideoPass!