Rubbing elbows, enormous respect and huge twists…
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is set for the Pirelli Indonesian Round at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit as a showdown awaits. The all-new track promises to give a title battle to remember, but there’s already been iconic duels from Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in 2021. Part 1 of their top ten battles in 2021 is here, this is Part 2 ahead of the #WorldSBKFinale.
Toprak Razgatlioglu at Magny-Cours is a combination that has proven to be fruitful; Race 1 of 2020 was another enthralling fight that saw himself and Jonathan Rea once again fight it out, although this time in the early stages. With Rea eager to disrupt Toprak’s rhythm, the stakes were high, but try as he might, he couldn’t keep an irrepressible Razgatlioglu behind him. Toprak pulled clear to take the victory, whilst Rea could only manage second, with Toprak leading the Championship by five points.
The whole opening few laps of the final San Juan encounter was crazy. Whilst Razgatlioglu and Rea were in the mix, Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) were in the fight too. Razgatlioglu led initially before Rea swept back through at Turn 8 as Toprak ran wide; the Turk retaliated at Turn 10 and they’d keep on passing and repassing for the first half of the race. In the end, Rea put a move on Toprak on Lap 16 at Turn 1 to take second, whilst Redding won.
After a Red Flag in the first running, the Tissot Superpole Race was now just five laps and it was the first lap of dreams for fans. Straight from the line, Rea and Razgatlioglu collided, allowing Michael Ruben Rinaldi through to lead. However, both recovered and by Turn 3, Razgatlioglu led Rea. Rea tried to pass at Turn 4 but Toprak held on and the two went side-by-side until Turn 9, before Toprak dropped back. He got back to second and despite a late race charge, settled for second behind Rea
Portimao’s Race 1 was epic, some of the best racing all year. Razgatlioglu got the holeshot but ran wide, allowing Rea back through. However, Toprak fought back at Turn 5, before a lap later at Turn 11, Rea pounced. Somehow, Razgatlioglu stayed on Rea’s outside as they dropped down to Turn 12, before Rea passed again at Turn 13, running wide with Toprak going back under him and colliding with Rea. The battle went until Rea crashed at Turn 15 from the lead, whilst Toprak went on to win.
The Tissot Superpole Race could be argued as one of the best races of the season, as Toprak and Jonathan slogged it out in a bruising heavyweight scrap for Magny-Cours supremacy. Rea made a bold move at Turn 11, whilst Razgatlioglu was forced to stand the bike up, but pounced at Turn 15. Despite Rea having a look back into the final chicane, Toprak took the flag, but it was all to change. Kawasaki protested the result after Toprak went on the green on the last lap and with this being shown clearly, Razgatlioglu was demoted whilst Rea took victory. This led to harsh words from Pata Yamaha principal Paul Denning, who said: “If this is the how Kawasaki want to play, then maybe the sporting atmosphere will change…”
Make sure to watch the UNMISSABLE final round of the Championship with the WorldSBK VideoPass!