The Superpole Race was a stunning affair in Italy as Razgatlioglu beat Bautista by just 0.244s to secure a hard-fought Superpole Race win
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) beat Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in an epic Tissot Superpole Race scrap at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola. The battle for victory went down to the final lap as the 2021 Champion fought hard to claim his first victory at Imola with the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standings closing ever so slightly with the results in the Prometeon Italian Round.
THE FIGHT FOR THE WIN: Locatelli leads, Razgatlioglu beats Bautista for victory
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) once again got the holeshot and defended valiantly despite pressure from teammate Razgatlioglu, with their battle allowing Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) to stay in contention. Razgatlioglu looked to pass his teammate on several occasions but was unable to make the move before the Spaniard bundled his way through on the Turkish star at the Variante Bassa at the end of Lap 5. Just a few corners later and the reigning Champion was out in front as he passed Locatelli into the Variante Tamburello.
It left the two Yamaha riders to fight it out and the 2021 Champion attempted to pass his teammate into the Tosa hairpin, but Locatelli held position. Heading out of Acque Minerali, Locatelli made a small mistake which allowed Razgatlioglu through forcefully at the Variante Alta. He soon closed the gap to Bautista out in front, with Razgatlioglu making the race-winning move at Piratella on Lap 9 as he caught his rival by surprise. Bautista kept him in his sights and looked for a way through on the final lap but the #54 was able to hold on for a hard-fought victory.
The Turk was able to hold on despite last-lap pressure from the defending Champion to claim his third win of the season and close the gap in the Championship standings by three points. It was his 35th win in WorldSBK, putting him alone at sixth in the all-time list. Bautista took his 77th podium while Locatelli resisted Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in the second half of the race for his 12th podium. The front row for Race 2 will therefore be Razgatlioglu, Bautista and Locatelli.
MOVING UP THE GRID: Rea charges to P4, Bassani loses grid positions
Rea will lead off the second row after he moved up from seventh on the grid for the Superpole Race and he will be joined by two Italians who go in search of a stunning home result at home. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) renewed their rivalry as they battled over fifth place, with Rinaldi coming out on top after the #47 fell down the order, partly aided by a poor start.
A GOOD STARTING PLACE FOR RACE 2: can they move up the order in Race 2?
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will line up seventh for Race 2 as he finished 0.616s down on Bassani ahead. Danilo Petrucci’s (Barni Spark Racing Team) continued his strong run of form as he scored eighth place, the second consecutive Superpole Race he has taken points from. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) will complete the third row in Race 2 as he secured ninth; just beating Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) by 0.194s.
The top nine from the Tissot Superpole Race, full results here:
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.244s
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +1.720s
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.969ss
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +3.341s
6. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +4.603s
7. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +5.219s
8. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +7.536s
9. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +9.407s
Next up, Race 2! Don’t miss any of the action from 14:00 Local Time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!