The top two in the Championship battled it out throughout the 20-lap race with Toprak Razgatlioglu coming out on top in Jerez
A fierce battle for Race 1 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) claiming a hard-fought victory against Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in the Motul Spanish Round after a difference in tyre strategies between the pair, with Razgatlioglu taking his ninth win and 23rd podium of the 2021 season.
THE BATTLE FOR VICTORY
Razgatlioglu got the jump at the start to maintain his lead from pole position but soon found himself having to fend off the challenge from Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on the opening lap, first at Turn 6 before Rea made the move for the lead at Turn 8 with both riders on different rear tyres; Razgatlioglu on the SCX development solution and Rea on the SC0 development solution.
On the opening lap, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) went deep into Turn 6 and lost places to both Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and teammate Scott Redding, while Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) also went wide. On Lap 5, Rinaldi had a crash at Turn 3 which put him out of the race.
Out in front, Rea was leading from Razgatlioglu but unable to pull out a gap as the Turkish rider consistently able to keep within half-a-second of Rea before closing the gap to around two tenths on Lap 6. On Lap 7, Razgatlioglu attempted to outbrake Rea into the Turn 6 hairpin with the pair making contact and running wide, allowing Locatelli and Redding to close the gap even further although both riders were able to continue and keep their positions. The leading pair pulled out a gap again on Locatelli and Redding as Razgatlioglu set his sights on Rea once again. At the start of Lap 14, Razgatlioglu made a move for the lead with a late braking move into Turn 1 to take the lead, before Res tried to respond into Turn 6 with the Turk holding on. Razgatlioglu was able to hold on for the final few laps of the 20-lap race to claim his first victory in Jerez, ahead of Rea.
LOCATELLI VS REDDING FOR THIRD
As the closing stages of the 20-lap race approached, Redding started closing in on Locatelli in the battle with the fight raging on to the final lap of the race, Redding making a move into Turn 5 with Locatelli unable to respond into the Turn 6 left-hand hairpin to claim third place ahead of Locatelli.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) claimed another top five finish for Honda after a strong result for the Spanish rider, although he was five seconds down on Locatelli. Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) was sixth after an impressive return for the Frenchman, with Baz replacing the recovery Chaz Davies in Jerez, claiming the top Independent rider spot in Race 1. Baz had a battle with Dutch rider Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) for sixth place, with van der Mark finishing seventh.
In the closing stages, van der Mark had to withstand pressure from rookie Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) with the Italian rider looking to make moves at both Turn 8 and Turn 9 on the final lap. Lowes ended the race in ninth place after a battling race as he nursed his injured wrist, taking home a top ten finish despite the injury. American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed tenth place after starting from the same position.
Leon Haslam (Team HRC) fell back during the race and ended up 11th, losing a position in the top ten late on in the race to Gerloff. Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) took points from his first start since the UK Round at Donington Park with 12th place, as he stands in for Tom Sykes. Laverty had a battle throughout the race with Japanese rookie Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) with experience paying dividends in the final results.
German rider Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) claimed claimed points with 14th place, less than a second clear of Frenchman Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) who claimed the final points position. Marvin Fritz (IXS-YART Yamaha) missed out on points on his slightly modified endurance-specification Yamaha R1 with 16th place, ahead of Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and wildcard Andrea Mantovani (Vince64) who rounded out the riders on the lead lap.
Samuele Cavalieri’s (Barni Racing Team) ended on Lap 5 with a Turn 9 crash from the points-paying positions, while Lachlan Epis (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) brought his Kawasaki ZX-10RR machine into the pits in the first half of the race, although he did return to the track after a few minutes in the box. Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) had a technical issue in the final third of the race, forcing the Argentinean rider out of the race, eventually classified four laps down. Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) opted to not take part in Sunday’s action following Saturday’s tragic events in WorldSSP300.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 1, full results here:
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.225s
3. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +2.791s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +3.227s
5. Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +8.652s
6. Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) +10.414s
Fastest Lap: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki): 1’39.837
Watch WorldSBK Race 2 at 14:00 Local Time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!