FRESH TWIST: Razgatlioglu resists Rinaldi for Race 1 win, Bautista P10 after fighting through the field

Saturday, 9 September 2023 13:20 GMT

The 2021 Champion claimed victory after a long battle with Michael Ruben Rinaldi, while Alvaro Bautista went from P24 to P10

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) won a dramatic Race 1 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours and closed the gap in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standings to Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati). The #1 suffered technical problems in the early stages of the race before fighting back to the top ten. The Pirelli French Round provided yet another twist in what has been a stunning title fight with the gap now 55 points between the #54 and Bautista.

FIERCE FIGHTS, BATTLING BACK: Razgatlioglu on top, Bautista P10

The race was reduced to 20 laps after a technical problem when riders took their positions on the grid following the warm-up lap, with the start delayed by a few minutes and a lap lost from the original race distance. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) got the holeshot and instantly looked to pull out a gap on his rivals, but Razgatlioglu overtook him on Lap 2 at Turn 13 by outbraking his Ducati.

A lap later, Bautista dropped down the order to 24th and last after a technical issue on the exit of Turn 5 although the #1 was able to get his V4 R moving again. While Bautista was making a comeback to finish in tenth, Razgatlioglu and Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) fought at the front of the field. The #54 was leading until Lap 5 when the Ducati rider made an aggressive move at Turn 11 to claim the lead.

On Lap 12, Razgatlioglu made a move at Turn 5 on the #21 to briefly move into the lead but the Italian was able to respond on the exit of the Adelaide hairpin and on the way to Turn 6 to re-take the lead. Two laps later and it was a familiar story but the 2021 Champion remained closer through the 180-degree hairpin, allowing him to make a move into Turn 11 with Rinaldi running wide through the chicane; as Razgatlioglu looked to take the racing line, Rinaldi was re-joining with the pair almost making contact but both continuing.

With Razgatlioglu remaining ahead, he was able to pull away from Rinaldi in second to claim his sixth win of the season and his 38th overall, while Rinaldi secured podium six of 2023 and his 20th in WorldSBK. Behind them, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) secured third after making gains before an early-race fight with teammate Alex Lowes, who initially passed the six-time Champion at Turn 5 for third, before falling behind the Ulsterman. It was Rea’s 257th WorldSBK podium.

DRAMA THROUGHOUT: Gerloff takes Independent honours, Lowes drops back

Polesitter Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) initially dropped down the order over the first few laps but his tenacity and taking advantage of misfortune for others meant he was able to claim fourth for his best result since switching to BMW. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) continued his strong form with fifth after a late-race battle with compatriot Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), with the #9 coming through on the Yamaha rider at Turn 11 on Lap 18 for what was sixth but turned into fifth when Lowes dropped down the order in the final few laps. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was seventh with Lowes in eighth. The #22 had been behind Rea until the final laps, but he lost time when running across the Turn 11-12 chicane and losing four seconds on Lap 19, which dropped him down the order.

RECOVERING FOR THE TOP TEN: Bautista’s surge through the field

German rider Phillip Oettl (Team GoEleven) took his first top-ten finish since Race 2 at Donington Park by claiming ninth place, finishing 0.627s ahead of Bautista who was able to secure tenth and limit the damage in the Championship fight. With Razgatlioglu’s win, the gap between them is now 55 points. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) took 11th after he was unable to withstand Bautista’s late charge, with the two-time WorldSSP Champion only 1.671s down on the reigning Champion.

SECURING POINTS: a big battle for P11 to P15…

Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) led home a train of four riders all fighting for the lower end of the points-paying positions, finishing just three tenths clear of Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW). The Frenchman had celebrated his home round with a stunning second row performance in Superpole but fell down the order to 13th at the end of the 20-lap race. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was 14th, less than two seconds behind Baz, while Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) completed the points scorers.

JUST MISSING OUT: closing in on the points-paying positions

Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 16th and 5.5 seconds away from the points, but he was four seconds ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 17th as the #47’s difficult weekend continues. It was Bassani’s first non-score since the Tissot Superpole Race in Barcelona. Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) was 18th ahead of Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 19th. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) was 20th with Estonia’s Hannes Soomer (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) was 21st. Soomer had to serve a Long Lap Penalty for cutting the Turn 6-7 chicane and not losing sufficient time.

Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) crashed at Turn 3 on Lap 8 as he looked to give his team a strong home result, but the Italian brought his bike into the pits following the crash to retire. Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) retired from the race when he brought his bike into the box, as did Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) on Lap 17.

The top six from WorldSBK Race 1, full results here:

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)

2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) +2.656s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.773s

4. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +6.266s

5. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +8.987s

6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +9.740s

Fastest lap – Alvaro Bautista (Ducati), 1’36.911s

Watch the Tissot Superpole Race on Sunday from 11:00 Local Time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!