The Championship lead changes again: Razgatlioglu takes slender one-point advantage

Sunday, 19 September 2021 15:52 GMT

After an incredible Catalunya Round, the Turkish star claimed the Championship lead over Jonathan Rea by a single point

For the fifth time in the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season, the leader has changed at the top of the Championship with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) now top of the standings with 399 points, just a single point clear of six-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).

Razgatlioglu came into the Hyundai N Catalunya Round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a seven-point lead over Rea but a Race 1 technical issue for the Turkish star meant Rea took a six-point lead into Sunday’s action after Rea finished fourth while Razgatlioglu retired. Rea’s victory in the Tissot Superpole Race extended that lead to nine points before second place in Race 2 for Razgatlioglu coupled with Rea’s sixth place means Razgatlioglu reclaimed the Championship lead.

Discussing the Championship battle, Razgatlioglu said: “It’s a strange year! Every race, the Championship changes. I’m smiling now because my team said I’m one point in front, but I am not looking at this. I’m smiling because every race, it changes. I am always focused on the races for the win. For Jerez, I am just focused on winning.”

Rea had a contrasting day with victory in the Tissot Superpole Race, but sixth place in Race 2. Commenting on this, Rea said: “It was disappointing. We didn’t capitalise on the opportunities we had. Yesterday, we made some mistakes. The Superpole Race was a consolation. Today, we really struggled in the heat to stop the bike. I was really getting pushed from the rear, something we hadn’t really experienced during Free Practice 2. I feel our out and out pace has been quite good, just in the hot conditions in Race 2 we struggled. The Superpole Race battle was nice. Off the line we came together. At Turn 1, I lost track position. Lap 1 was mental. I felt like every apex I was going to he was there, and I didn’t want to lean on him and squeeze him. Just tried to go away, it was five laps. We got it done.”

It is now the fifth time the Championship lead has changed hands between the two riders in 2021, with the first coming at Donington Park in Race 2 when Razgatlioglu took the lead by just two points. The lead changed hands again in Race 1 at Assen with a seven-point advantage to Rea, which he extended further after taking a hat-trick of victories. At the end of the Navarra Round, Razgatlioglu had pulled things back and took the lead of the Championship by virtue of full race victories over Rea as they were tired on points. Twice over the Catalunya Round the lead changed hands, first in Rea’s favour by six points and then in Razgatlioglu’s favour by just one.

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