The opening race of the Estoril Round featured a stunning battle between Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu as the pair went bar-to-bar in Portugal
Race 1 at the Circuito Estoril was an incredible affair for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claiming victory ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) for the Estoril Round. The first portion of the race was dominated by an incredible battle between Razgatlioglu and Rea, which featured no fewer than nine overtakes between the pair.
The overtaking hotspot was down into Turn 1 with the pair consistently using the slipstream to pass the other before the move was decided on the brakes. Razgatlioglu got the jump on Rea at the start of the race before the pair swapped places eight times throughout the race in what was an instant classic from Portugal.
Reacting to the battle with Razgatlioglu, Rea said: “It’s always interesting battling with Toprak. Our bikes are so evenly matched, Yamaha and Kawasaki, with the lap time. We make the difference in some areas of the track. It was really close in some areas. I felt like at one point I had the better rhythm, in the first 10 laps. I was trying to go to the front to go away, I could see Alvaro was approaching but he would always be so deep on the brakes in Turn 1 so there was a point where I couldn’t do anymore. Then I made a huge mistake at Turn 1 with a braking issue, I couldn’t create the issue with the front brake. It came right back, I jumped on the rear brake to stop the bike. I blew the corner and Alvaro went past. From that point, I just lost a little bit of track position and then I couldn’t really close the gap. I was by myself. With two laps to go, I decided to consolidate the position.”
Rea opted for a different tyre strategy compared to Bautista and Razgatlioglu in Race 1 as he ran with the SC0 standard compound and the SC1 development A0674 compound on the rear and front respectively. Both Bautista and Razgatlioglu opted for the SCX rear tyre and the SC1 standard at the front of their machines, with the pair going on to finish first and second ahead of Rea.
Discussing his different tyre strategy, Rea said. “I was fast with the SC0, someone said I had the fastest lap in the race, so the performance of the SC0 was strong. Just, like the SCX, there is a drop and the offset is the same. On the last laps, I was just struggling to get into the corner. I think it makes sense to go with my rivals’ choice tomorrow. I can’t see those guys on the SC0 so I will chuck on the same SCX as everybody else and see what we can do.”
Watch the remainder of the Estoril Round starting from 09:00 Local Time (GMT+1) on Sunday using the WorldSBK VideoPass!