The pair crashed in separate incidents, allowing Bautista to extend his advantage in the Championship standings…
It was a dramatic day of action in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship as both Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatligolu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) had falls at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours during the Pirelli French Round. Rea finished last in Race 1 while Razgatlioglu was able to battle back to take 11th place and limit the damage in the Championship standings.
Rea was the first of the pair to crash when he came off his ZX-10RR on the exit of the final corner, sliding through the grass, while in a podium place. He was able to re-join the race and brought his bike back to the pits for some emergency repairs, before once again taking to the track, a lap down. Rea ended up finishing 24th and last in the race, losing 25 points to Bautista.
Discussing the crash and the title fight, Rea said: “It’s frustrating because the crime didn’t really fit the penalty. I was in the last chicane. Just got caught out. Part of my front fork sensor touched the kerb on the left, just enough to pick up the front. Such small margins to put me down. My bike was pretty bent, so I tried, on the side of the track, bend the handlebars as quickly as good. It was so bent I needed to put it into position. I had to stop in the pitlane. The guys adjusted it and we were able to do the rest of the race, so we got 20 laps of data.
“It’s a long Championship. Today was one battle we failed in but we still have a lot more. I lost a potential 25 points to Alvaro. We have to keep working. It’s not incredible but it’s not going to be easy. It’s always nice to be able to fight from behind. It gives you some feeling. I know that feeling of being in front, when things are seamless. All it takes is a swing in momentum and it goes against you. We know we need to keep working hard and maximising our opportunities.”
Razgatlioglu’s drama occurred on Lap 3 when the reigning Champion had a huge moment which forced him into the gravel. He was able to stay on his bike as he slowed his Yamaha YZF R1 machine down but had to bail out at the last minute to avoid hitting the barrier on the exit of the corner. After that, he was able to re-join and, having lost more than 25 seconds, was second last. Despite this, he battled his way back up to 11th place to claim five Championship points, restricting Bautista’s gain on him and also closing the gap to Rea for second in the standings.
Reacting to his wild Saturday, Razgatlioglu said: “We started really well in the race, but just the big problem for me is the braking. In the race, I’m always changing the setting for the brake lever. I arrived at Turn 11, and I felt the brake lever was very close with my finger. At Turn 13, I’m feeling my finger and the brake lever very close. I tried to brake the same as Turn 11 but the brake lever came more open, I felt too much braking and the rear went up.”
On the title fight, Razgatlioglu added: “I was pushing for a good position because I need good points for the Championship. Now, Alvaro has a big gap and we are very similar with Jonny. I’m not thinking about the Championship points. We have many races. I will try my best again and I am just focussed on this. Tomorrow, we have two races and I will try to win.”
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