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Jonathan Rea gets his first win in Race One at WorldSBK Most as Toprak crashes out of the lead in Race Two

Six-time Champion Jonathan Rea pulled off a masterstroke at Most with an intermediate tyre gamble to end his long winning drought

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) ended his 252-day, 23-race streak without victory in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship as an intermediate tyre gamble paid off handsomely for the six-time Champion. He started Race 1 for the Acerbis Czech Round on intermediate tyres, and didn’t change to slicks, as he returned to the top step of the rostrum at the Autodrom Most. Meanwhile, there was another Championship twist as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) finishing second as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was 12th.

Back on top: Rea returns to P1

The opening laps proved to be beneficial for the wet tyre runners with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) storming away from fourth on the grid to have a six second lead over Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) at the end of Lap 2; the pair started from the front row on full wet tyres. The pace dropped rapidly as the track quickly dried with Bassani lapping as much as four seconds quicker than Gardner behind him, expanding his lead to more than 10 seconds by the time Lap 4 concluded.

However, on Lap 5, Bassani started haemorrhaging time to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with the six-time Champion starting on intermediate tyres. The gap came down from over 10 seconds to two by the end of Lap 6 before the Italian pitted on that lap; handing Rea the lead as Bassani opted for slick tyres and came ahead of all the riders who pitted before him. At the start of Lap 10, Bassani was within 58 seconds – the Pit Intervention Time – of Rea who had yet to stop. This gap continued to fall but the #47 wasn’t able to regain the time lost and finished seventh.

While Bassani was able to put in lap times in the 1’32s – around three seconds quicker than Rea – the battle out in front turned into Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) with the 2021 Champion around eight or nine tenths quicker than his rival. Although the Turkish star kept closing the gap, Rea’s pace was enough to keep Razgatlioglu behind him to end his win drought that extended since Phillip Island Race 1 in 2022.

Rea was joined on the podium by Razgatlioglu and Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) with the Italian also opting to start on the inters and not stop for slicks. Rea was able to go with the wet tyre runners in the opening laps while other intermediate riders dropped down, including Razgatlioglu, before battling back. The top three were separated by just eight seconds after 22 laps as Ulsterman claimed his 119th career victory and ensuring he now has 15 winning campaigns in WorldSBK. Razgatlioglu took his 21st podium of the year, and his 19th consecutive for the fourth-longest all-time streak as he closed the gap on Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) to 54 points. Petrucci gave Ducati a round number of podiums, with their 1050th at a venue they took their 1000th at last year.

Pitlane to P4: Redding’s Warm Up lap gamble pays off

Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) also didn’t stop as he claimed fourth place despite starting from the pitlane. Redding was the first to pit as he came in at the end of the Warm Up lap to switch to the intermediate tyres and he surged up the order to finish in P4, finding off a resurgent Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) in fifth. It meant all five manufacturers finished inside the top five, while Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) completed the top six. P4 to P6 were separated by under a second as they battled and switched positions.

Missing out: The wrong tyre choice hinders Bassani, Bautista

Bassani finished the race in seventh, just over 23 seconds down on Rea despite opting to stop, with the Italian the highest-placed rider in the classification who had stopped. The #47 made up three positions on the final lap as he first overtook Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in one move to move into eighth, before he overtook Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) to secure seventh. Aegerter ended the race in eighth, with Lowes ninth and Baz rounding out the top ten.

Scoring on return: Van der Mark back in the points

Rookie Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was 11th after starting from the front row. He pitted at the end of Lap 5 to switch tyres, finishing ahead of Bautista in 12th. The reigning Champion lost 18 seconds compared to the Pit Intervention Time which dropped him behind Gardner, with the Australian coming into the pits behind him but leaving ahead. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) scored points on his return as he took him 13th, ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in 14th and Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 15th.

Housekeeping: To note from Race 1

Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) had been running in the points but a penultimate lap crash at Turn 2 dropped him down the order to P16, with the rookie three tenths behind Rabat. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing), Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) rounded out the classified riders.

Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) was the first retirement when he crashed out on Lap 6 and Turn 15, while Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) retired after completing seven laps. Teammate Hannes Soomer crashed out at Turn 20 with just a handful of laps to go while Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) brought his machine into the pits to retire.

The top six from WorldSBK Race 1

1 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +4.007s

3. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +7.939s

4. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +14.736s

5. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) +14.903s

6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +15.690s

It was ten laps of non-stop drama in the Superpole Race as the ‘Titanic Trio’ returned to the rostrum together

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) went head-to-head for victory in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in Sunday morning’s Tissot Superpole Race with the Turkish star claiming victory and denting Alvaro Bautista’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) Championship lead even further. The #1 battled his way from 14th on the grid to a podium place as he limited the damage in the title fight, with the gap cut to 49 points.

A fight to the end: Podium battle decided on the last lap

Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) surged from P4 to P1 when the lights went out as he went in search of his first victory, but soon found himself demoted to third behind Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). The pair pulled away from the #47 as they battled it out for victory. The Turkish star gained two places on Lap 4 as he first overtook Rea before passing Bassani as he moved into the lead. On Lap 6, Rea moved ahead of the #54 after he ran wide at Turn 13 with a move into Turn 20, but the Yamaha rider responded at Turn 3 on the next lap.

The pair finished first and second while there was a battle for third raging behind them, which was decided at the penultimate corner on the final lap. With Bassani’s pace dropping off compared to the leaders, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was able to pass him at Turn 20 on Lap 10 to secure a podium finish from 14th on the grid to secure a front row start for Race 2, alongside Razgatlioglu and Rea.

Razgatlioglu’s win was his 37th win and his fifth of the year, while he’s closing in on Carl Fogarty’s 109 podiums with the 2021 Champion five down on the Brit. Rea celebrated his 400th WorldSBK race start with his 255th podium while Bautista added his 78th rostrum to his record.

Bassani drops to P4: Narrowly missing out on a podium

Bassani’s fourth place means he starts in the same position as he did in the first two races of the Czech Round after missing out on a podium, and he’ll be joined by Ducati rival Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) as he finished fifth. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) converted his front row start into sixth place to secure a second row start for Race 2 as his strong weekend continues.

Securing a third row start: Lowes battles into the top nine

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will lead away the third row in Sunday afternoon’s race as he took seventh place, ahead of Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark racing Team). The Italian dropped down the order after he ran wide at Turn 1 on Lap 1 before fighting back to secure eighth. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) was ninth as he secured the final place on the third row for Race 2, with Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) just missing out with tenth.

Housekeeping: Locatelli, Vierge drop down the Race 2 grid

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) retired from inside the top ten when he had a spectacular crash on the opening lap, ending his points streak which started at Portimao Race 1 last year. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) started from ninth but crashed out on the opening lap when Rinaldi forced his way through on the Spaniard, dropping him down the grid for Race 2.

The top nine from the Tissot Superpole Race

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)

2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.203s

3. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +2.968s

4. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +3.180s

5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +5.310s

6. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +8.205s

7. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +8.375s

8. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +9.021s

9. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +10.165s

Fastest Lap: Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) – 1’31.254s

Bautista put Razgatlioglu under relentless pressure before the #54 crashed on Lap 17 at Turn 3 to hand Bautista a 25-point swing in the title race

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) completed a remarkable Sunday turnaround as he made MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship history with his 18th win of the 2023 season as title rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) crashed out from the lead after initially resisting pressure from the reigning Champion. It gave Bautista a 25-point swing in the Championship standings as the #1 wrote his name into the record books.

Championship battle twists: Bautista wins, Razgatlioglu crashes

Bautista didn’t get away well from the line as the lights went out but still found himself into the lead heading into Turn 1, before he tried to pull out a gap. In the early stages, Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) battled hard over second with Rea making a move on the #54 at the first chicane on Lap 4 before the 2021 Champion responded almost immediately. From there, the Yamaha star closed the gap on Bautista where they had a barnstorming battle.

The pair were often looking to switch positions with Razgatlioglu claiming the lead on Lap 7 at Turn 13 with Bautista staying close and looking to make a move at Turn 1, but the Turkish star was able to respond under braking at the chicane. On Lap 12, Bautista’s tactic changed as he looked to pass his rival at Turn 20 on the inside, but the Yamaha rider responded through Turn 21 before the pair were battling under braking into Turn 1.

However, on Lap 17, Razgatlioglu’s race came to an end. He had a highside heading out of Turn 2 and into Turn 3 which forced him to retire while leading. This allowed Bautista to claim victory by more than four seconds and gain 25 points on his rival, with the Championship gap expanding to 74 points. The win was his 50th in WorldSBK, but it was also a historic one: the 18th win of his season means he has now won more races in one season than any other rider.

The podium fight: 0.134s between three riders

The battle for second went down to the wire with three riders separated by 0.134s across the line. Rea had been in second after Razgatlioglu’s crash but his pace was slower than Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) as the two Italians closed in on the Kawasaki. On the final lap, Petrucci went around the outside of Turn 21 and got a much better run down the straight to pip Rea to second by just 0.073s. Bassani, who lost a heap of time when he ran through the gravel at the chicane in the early stages, was 0.061s off the podium. Second place gave Petrucci his third podium in WorldSBK and his second of the Czech Round while Rea moved onto 256 career podiums.

Responding in style: Climbing up the order

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) secured fifth place after dropping away from the podium fight in the closing stages, while Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) concluded the strongest weekend of his WorldSBK career with sixth as he finished three seconds down on Rinaldi. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) bounced back from his Tissot Superpole Race crash, and a grid slot outside of the top nine, to finish in seventh. He was ahead of Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in eighth, the best BMW rider, while Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) claimed top Honda honours with ninth. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) completed the top ten.

In the points: Dropping down but scoring points

Rookie Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was just half-a-second away from a place in the top ten as he came home in 11th while fending off Iker Lecuona (Team HRC). The Spanish rider was less than a tenth away from the double WorldSSP Champion as he finished 12th, while Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) duelled it out for 13th. Lowes was running in the top ten in the early stages but dropped down the order before coming home in 14th, 16 seconds clear of Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who concluded his comeback round in the points.

Housekeeping: Classified riders and retirements

Substitute rider Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) was nine seconds behind the Dutchman as he finished in 16th, ahead of Spanish duo Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and Tito Rabat (Barni Spark Racing Team). Estonia’s Hannes Soomer (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) was 19th while Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) was 20th and two laps down. The American crashed at Turn 1 on Lap 1 and, while he re-joined the race, he spent two laps in the box.

Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) retired after a Turn 7 crash on Lap 2 as his race came to a premature end, while Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) crashed on Lap 4 at Turn 1 which put the Italian out of the race. Home hero Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) brought his Kawasaki machine into the pits in the early stages to retire.

Pirelli reveal cause of Razgatlioglu’s crash: Post-race statement

Discussing what caused Razgatlioglu’s crash, Pirelli’s Motorcycle Racing Director, Giorgio Barbier, said: “In WorldSBK Race 2, with the new C0567 rear specification, we recorded three cases of blistering: Rea, Gardner and Razgatlioglu. For the first two, the blisters were extremely small and had no effect on the performance and race result, whereas in Razgatlioglu’s case, the tyre had two more evident blisters and the telemetry data shows sudden deflation of the tyre. Even if the Yamaha rider’s race pace was extremely high and none of the other riders’ tyres show any signs of stress or wear, these types of episodes clearly must not occur, so we will conduct an in-depth laboratory analysis of the three tyres with blistering to figure out what may have caused it.”

The top six from WorldSBK Race 2

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

2. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +4.652s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.725s

4. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +4.786s

5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +7.538s

6. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +10.717s

Fastest Lap: Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha), 1’31.951s

Championship standings

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 427 points

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 353

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 251

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 227

5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 207

6. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 155

Posted on Monday, July 31st, 2023 in News

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