"Unlucky" Rinaldi rues Race 2 clash with Razgatlioglu, "bad for morale but the performance was good"

Monday, 5 June 2023 07:53 GMT

Home hero Michael Ruben Rinaldi was trying to make it a hat-trick of podium finishes at Misano but ended Race 2 in the gravel after a clash with Toprak Razgatlioglu

As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock headed to the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round, home hero Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) would have been hoping for a strong weekend on home soil. At the circuit he claimed his first wins for the factory Ducati team at back in 2021, Rinaldi walked away from Misano with two more podiums to his name, but he missed out on a third one after a Race 2 crash.

Rinaldi took second place in Race 2 and third in the Tissot Superpole Race after finishing behind Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in the shortened eight-lap race on Sunday morning while teammate Alvaro Bautista claimed wins in both of those races, as well as Race 2. Rinaldi had been competitive from the start of the Emilia-Romagna Round with fourth in Friday’s combined classification and third on the grid after a strong Tissot Superpole session on Saturday.

In Race 2, Razgatlioglu and Rinaldi battled it out in the early stages of the race before the 2021 Champion moved ahead of Bautista briefly with Rinaldi also ahead of his teammate. Bautista was soon back ahead of the pair of them. It left Rinaldi and Razgatlioglu battling it out for second place and, while Rinaldi was ahead for the majority of the battle, Razgatlioglu came through on Lap 15 to move into second place. At Turn 1 a lap later, the pair made contact with Rinaldi going through the gravel and out of the race.

Reviewing his home round and explaining the Race 2 crash, Rinaldi said: “It’s been a really positive weekend for me overall. I was able to have good speed in all practice sessions and all races. In Race 2, I didn’t have the same feeling as Race 1, so I was a few tenths slower and that allowed Toprak to stay with me. I tried to not risk too much and six or seven laps from the end, Toprak overtook me. I thought the guy behind me was seven or eight seconds back, I’ll take the podium; at the end of the race, if I can make the move, I will.

“What happened was for the first time in two days, I was behind a rider at the first corner and I didn’t expect that Toprak’s slipstream would drag me in. I braked at the same point as the lap before, but I wasn’t able to stop the bike. Toprak is a rider that, when he starts braking, he stops the bike completely. Both things made me crash because maybe, for three centimetres, I touched his rear wheel. I was, I can say, a little bit unlucky because I crashed, and we could easily have finished third or maybe second. Ending like this is so bad for morale but the performance was good, and I cannot complain too much; it’s racing.”

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