The top three in the Championship battled it out in Portimao with Toprak Razgatlioglu extending his Championship lead to 45 points
A thrilling encounter at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship ended with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) extending his Championship lead after an incredible battle throughout the 20-lap race with Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with the latter not finishing the race after a Turn 15 crash.
NOTHING TO SEPARATE THE TOP TWO AT THE START
As the opening lap got underway, Razgatlioglu got the jump from pole position at the start ahead of Rea with the pair battling each other throughout the opening two laps, including an incredible battle in the first two laps with the pair making contact through Turn 13 on Lap 3 with both riders staying on their bike, allowing Redding to take the lead at the start of Lap 4.
At the start of Lap 5, Rea had a moment into Turn 1 allowing the Turkish star to move up to second behind Redding. As Rea made a move for the lead on Redding, he lost the front of his Kawasaki ZX-10RR at Turn 15 forcing the six-time Champion out of the race, with Redding and Razgatlioglu fighting for victory after Rea’s retirement; Rea taken to the medical centre for a check-up. He will be reassessed tomorrow morning before the WorldSBK Warm-Up session, with the Ulsterman diagnosed with multiple contusions and a left elbow abrasion. It means this is the first time since 2014 Race 1 Rea did not feature on the podium in Portimao. Redding held the lead of the race until the start of Lap 11 when Razgatlioglu came blasting through at Turn 1.
Redding looked to respond at the start of Lap 16 but Razgatlioglu responded on the brakes into Turn 1 to retain the lead of the race. Redding tried again on the start of Lap 18 but, like two laps previous, Razgatlioglu was able to maintain position. It was a repeat at the start of Lap 19, with Redding getting by into Turn 4, but Razgatlioglu was able to cut inside into Turn 2. Razgatlioglu went on to claim his first WorldSBK victory at Portimao, while it ended Yamaha’s ten-year Portimao win drought; their first since Marco Melandri in Race 2 in 2011. It was also Yamaha’s 300th race on the podium in WorldSBK.
BATTLE FOR THE PODIUM
The fight for third was an ongoing affair throughout the 20-lap encounter with Leon Haslam (Team HRC) starting from third place holding onto that position until around the mid-way point of the race before he dropped positions, with Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) working his way up to third place on Lap 12. There was plenty of action between the six riders in contention for a podium, with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), Haslam and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) all running wide at Turn 1 at various points of the race.
As the race progressed, Bautista was unable to pull out a gap to the chasing pack with Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) and Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) chasing Bautista, Baz making the move at Turn 1 before van der Mark and Locatelli, still chasing third, made contact at Turn 5 with Locatelli retiring and van der Mark bringing his bike back to the pits; the incident will be investigated after the race by the FIM WorldSBK Stewards. With the pair out of contention for the podium, Baz and Bautista battled for third place with the Spaniard coming out on top. At Turn 15 on the final lap, Bautista crashed out of the race with Baz inheriting third place, his first podium since his WorldSBK return.
CLAIMING A TOP TEN FINISH
Rinaldi finished the race in fourth place after the incredible battle for third place, with Haslam eventually coming home in fifth place after starting from the front row. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed a solid sixth place in Race 1 in Portimao, just three tenths behind Haslam in fifth place.
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) continued his strong rookie campaign with seventh place ahead of Argentinean star Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda) claiming eighth place, his first top eight finish since San Juan in 2019, Race 1 and his best result of the 2021 campaign. Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) battled up to ninth place with Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) claiming another top ten finish.
Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) missed out on the top ten by just over half-a-second but came home in 11th place, just ahead of Italian Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team); Cavalieri just a second behind Viñales. 2014 Moto2™ World Champion Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) scored points on his first WorldSBK race onboard Kawasaki machinery, with Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) rounding out the points.
Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) was the last of the classified riders with the Belgian missing out on a point by just 0.079s. Cresson’s teammate, Lachlan Epis, retired from the race after bringing his bike into the pits, while Gabriele Ruiu (B-Max Racing Team) was also a retirement from the race, along with Rea, Locatelli, van der Mark and Bautista.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 1, full results here:
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.691s
3. Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) +10.628s
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +12.901s
5. Leon Haslam (Team HRC) +13.305
6. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +13.596s
Fastest Lap Scott Redding (Ducati) 1’41.507s
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