Michael Ruben Rinaldi returned to the top step of the rostrum with victory after a tyre gamble in Race 2
Race 2 for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a dramatic encounter with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claiming victory after a long battle with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) reclaimed the Championship lead by a single point with second place.
EARLY RED FLAG
The Red Flags were thrown on Lap 2 of the 20-lap race following an incident involving Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) at Turn 1. Sykes was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash but was conscious. He was diagnosed with a head injury and concussion and transferred to Catalunya Hospital for further assessments.
EARLY BATTLING IN THE 19-LAP RESTART
The new race distance of 19 laps got underway with Rinaldi a fast starter as he moved into the lead of the race ahead of Razgatlioglu (and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Razgatlioglu was able to go with Rinaldi throughout the 19-lap encounter but Rea started to drop back. Razgatlioglu and Rinaldi pulled away from Rea with Rinaldi. The Turkish star was able to pass Rinaldi to take the lead of the race, but this lasted for just a handful of laps as Rinaldi responded into Turn 1 with a handful of laps remaining, before extending his lead.
With Rea battling to stay on the podium, he had to fight to keep Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) behind him but his attempts proved to be in vain with the Italian rookie getting past on lap 10 before Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) followed him through. At the start of Lap 18, Redding made a move on Locatelli into Turn 1 for third place with Redding using the SC0 tyre, along with Rinaldi, while his rivals were on the SCX tyre. Bautista followed Redding through a lap later at the same corner. It meant Rinaldi claimed his first win since the Tissot Superpole Race at Misano, and the first time Rinaldi, Razgatlioglu and Redding shared the podium. Bautista just missed out on a podium place with fourth place, with Locatelli in fifth.
COMPLETING THE TOP TEN
Rea finished the race in sixth place, more than three seconds down on the battle for the podium, but he finished three seconds clear of American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in seventh, his best result since the Superpole Race at the Autodrom Most. Rea’s sixth place means Razgatlioglu claims the Championship lead by a single point ahead of Rea. Gerloff was the top Independent rider and finishing ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in eighth.
Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) claimed ninth place with Japanese rookie Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) taking his first top-ten finish in a full-length race with tenth. Nozane continued his run of lightning starts in Race 2 to set himself up nicely for the 19-lap encounter.
TAKING HOME POINTS
Honda secured a points finish with both riders as Leon Haslam (Team HRC) finished in 11th place, five seconds clear of Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) in 12th, just falling short of his career-best 11th he set in the Tissot Superpole Race. Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) was 13th in Race 2 after a strong weekend for the French rider.
Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) and Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) had an incredible battle for 14th place with Argentinean rider finishing just 0.081s clear of rookie Viñales. Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) was the last classified rider in 16th place.
Alex Lowes’ (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) came to an end at Turn 2 on Lap 1 after he came off his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, forcing the British rider to retire from the race. Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) and Lachlan Epis (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) had to attempt avoiding action at the back of the grid, with Epis retiring from the race. Lowes was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the incident and diagnosed with a left wrist contusion. Mahias joined the restarted race but brought his bike back to the pits and retired from the race, while Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) also did not finish the race.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 2 in Barcelona, full results here:
1. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +3.030s
3. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +3.207s
4. Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +3.415s
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +4.306s
6. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +7.733s
Fastest Lap: Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati): 1’42.566
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 399
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 398
3. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 339
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 218
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 201
6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 192
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