The reigning Champion made a lightning start from eighth on the grid to second by Turn 1, but dropped back as the race progressed
It was a thrilling MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship battle in Race 1 for the Catalunya Round and reigning Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) had a rollercoaster day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as he finished fifth in Race 1 from eighth on the grid, with Razgatlioglu losing a lot of time and places in the latter stages of the 20-lap battle despite an incredible start from the third row.
The Turkish star could only manage eighth in the Tissot Superpole session, ended a streak of 13 Superpole sessions where he finished inside the top three, meaning he would have to produce one of his traditional lightning starts to be in the podium fight from the start in Race 1. He duly delivered this and was second by the time the field reached Turn 1 on Lap 1 and initially put Championship leader and Race 1 winner Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) under pressure as he looked to continue his incredible run of form.
However, things did not transpire like that for the reigning Champion and his pace began to slow in the second half of the race. Despite running in second until Lap 17, the reigning Champion continued to lose positions as he was passed by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on Lap 17 at Turn 4, demoting Razgatlioglu to third, Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) on Lap 18 at Turn 1, pushing the 2021 Champion to fourth and then Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) on Lap 19 of 20 at Turn 10.
Razgatlioglu’s pace in the race starting in the low 1’42s bracket and dipped into the 1’41.9s bracket on Lap 4, but he was unable to continue this throughout the race. By Lap 8, his times had dropped into the high 1’42s before dropping further into the 1’43s on Lap 10. He was able to maintain pace in this bracket until Lap 14, but it turned into lap times of 1’44s, 1’45s and 1’46s by the end of the race. In contrast, Bautista’s lap times were consistently in the 1’42s until Lap 14 when he entered the 1’43s bracket, with Lap 19 a 1’44 from Bautista and Lap 20 a 1’46; which included him rolling off the throttle as he approached the line to celebrate his win.
Explaining what went wrong for him in Race 1, Razgatlioglu said: “In the race, I had a very good start but the end wasn’t fantastic because of a fifth position finish. In the last ten laps, I felt the rear tyre have a big drop. I keep fighting for a good position. For me, P5 isn’t enough. Tomorrow, we will try to improve. For me, in this race it was a big problem. I tried to follow Bautista and lap times were very fast, 41’9 and low 42s. I think I used the rear tyre a little bit too much in the first laps, and after that it started to drop. Tomorrow, my plan is to start calmer because the rear tyre is important in the last six laps.”
Can Razgatlioglu bounce back on Sunday? Find out from Warm Up at 09:00 Local Time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!