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Eazi Grip

Toprak doubles up at Magny-Cours as Bautista prevents a hat trick

Race One

The 2021 Champion claimed victory after a long battle with Michael Ruben Rinaldi, while Alvaro Bautista went from P24 to P10

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) won a dramatic Race 1 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours and closed the gap in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standings to Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). The #1 suffered technical problems in the early stages of the race before fighting back to the top ten. The Pirelli French Round provided yet another twist in what has been a stunning title fight with the gap now 55 points between the #54 and Bautista.

Fierce fights, battling back: Razgatlioglu on top, Bautista P10

The race was reduced to 20 laps after a technical problem when riders took their positions on the grid following the warm-up lap, with the start delayed by a few minutes and a lap lost from the original race distance. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) got the holeshot and instantly looked to pull out a gap on his rivals, but Razgatlioglu overtook him on Lap 2 at Turn 13 by outbraking his Ducati.

A lap later, Bautista dropped down the order to 24th and last after a technical issue on the exit of Turn 5 although the #1 was able to get his V4 R moving again. While Bautista was making a comeback to finish in tenth, Razgatlioglu and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) fought at the front of the field. The #54 was leading until Lap 5 when the Ducati rider made an aggressive move at Turn 11 to claim the lead.

On Lap 12, Razgatlioglu made a move at Turn 5 on the #21 to briefly move into the lead but the Italian was able to respond on the exit of the Adelaide hairpin and on the way to Turn 6 to re-take the lead. Two laps later and it was a familiar story but the 2021 Champion remained closer through the 180-degree hairpin, allowing him to make a move into Turn 11 with Rinaldi running wide through the chicane; as Razgatlioglu looked to take the racing line, Rinaldi was re-joining with the pair almost making contact but both continuing.

With Razgatlioglu remaining ahead, he was able to pull away from Rinaldi in second to claim his sixth win of the season and his 38th overall, while Rinaldi secured podium six of 2023 and his 20th in WorldSBK. Behind them, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) secured third after making gains before an early-race fight with teammate Alex Lowes, who initially passed the six-time Champion at Turn 5 for third, before falling behind the Ulsterman. It was Rea’s 257th WorldSBK podium.

Drama throughout: Gerloff takes Independent honours, Lowes drops back

Polesitter Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) initially dropped down the order over the first few laps but his tenacity and taking advantage of misfortune for others meant he was able to claim fourth for his best result since switching to BMW. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) continued his strong form with fifth after a late-race battle with compatriot Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), with the #9 coming through on the Yamaha rider at Turn 11 on Lap 18 for what was sixth but turned into fifth when Lowes dropped down the order in the final few laps. Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was seventh with Lowes in eighth. The #22 had been behind Rea until the final laps, but he lost time when running across the Turn 11-12 chicane and losing four seconds on Lap 19, which dropped him down the order.

Recovering for the top 10: Bautista’s surge through the field

German rider Phillip Oettl (Team GoEleven) took his first top-ten finish since Race 2 at Donington Park by claiming ninth place, finishing 0.627s ahead of Bautista who was able to secure tenth and limit the damage in the Championship fight. With Razgatlioglu’s win, the gap between them is now 55 points. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) took 11th after he was unable to withstand Bautista’s late charge, with the two-time WorldSSP Champion only 1.671s down on the reigning Champion.

Securing points: A big battle for P11 to P15…

Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) led home a train of four riders all fighting for the lower end of the points-paying positions, finishing just three tenths clear of Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW). The Frenchman had celebrated his home round with a stunning second row performance in Superpole but fell down the order to 13th at the end of the 20-lap race. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was 14th, less than two seconds behind Baz, while Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) completed the points scorers.

Just missing out: Closing in on the points-paying positions

Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 16th and 5.5 seconds away from the points, but he was four seconds ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 17th as the #47’s difficult weekend continues. It was Bassani’s first non-score since the Tissot Superpole Race in Barcelona. Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) was 18th ahead of Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 19th. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) was 20th with Estonia’s Hannes Soomer (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) was 21st. Soomer had to serve a Long Lap Penalty for cutting the Turn 6-7 chicane and not losing sufficient time.

Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) crashed at Turn 3 on Lap 8 as he looked to give his team a strong home result, but the Italian brought his bike into the pits following the crash to retire. Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) retired from the race when he brought his bike into the box, as did Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) on Lap 17.

The top six from WorldSBK Race 1:

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)

2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +2.656s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.773s

4. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +6.266s

5. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +8.987s

6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +9.740s

Fastest lap – Alvaro Bautista (Ducati), 1’36.911s

Superpole Race

There was drama everywhere you looked in France was the title battle closed up again with Razgatlioglu winning ahead of Bautista

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) made it two from two at the Circuit de Nevers Mangy-Cours in 2023 after taking victory in a dramatic Tissot Superpole Race for the Pirelli French Round. The #54 finished ahead of MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship rival Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) after the reigning Champion made contact with teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi halfway through the race, with the #1 able to continue before finishing second.

‘Titanic Trio’ return to the front row: Razgatlioglu wins, Bautista crashes with Rinaldi

Bautista got the holeshot as the race started but his lead did not last long as Razgatlioglu went from third to first in one stunning move at Turn 5 on Lap 2, passing both factory Ducati riders under braking into the Adelaide hairpin. Rinaldi then moved ahead of teammate Bautista at Turn 11 on the same lap to claim second, with Bautista seemingly struggling for pace in the early laps before he started fighting back. On Lap 3, Rinaldi moved ahead of the Yamaha star at Turn 6 and remained there until Turn 5 on Lap 5.

Razgatlioglu looked to pass Rinaldi on Lap 5 for the lead, with the reigning Champion following the #54 and made contact with teammate Rinaldi. The Italian came off his bike and retired from the race. He was taken to the medical centre for a check-up, and subsequently declared fit, while Bautista continued the race. The incident was investigated by the FIM Stewards, with no further action taken. After initially dropping down behind the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK machines of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes, Bautista was soon back up to second after overtaking Rea, while Lowes brought his machine into the pits to retire.

The #1 put in a series of race lap records to close the gap to his title rival but the 2021 Champion claimed victory by a second to become the first rider to win four consecutive races at Magny-Cours, while Bautista took his 80th podium. Six-time Champion Rea withstood a late charge from Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) to claim third and his 258th podium and his 20th at the iconic French venue.

Fighting all race long: Little to separate the second row starters

Locatelli was fourth after missing out on a podium by just 0.244s while Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) continued his impressive form with fifth, six tenths behind compatriot Locatelli. The fight for sixth went down to the wire with Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) passing Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) at Turn 5 on the final lap to secure a second row start for Race 2.

An epic fightback: From 19th to eighth for Bassani, Oettl just misses out

Baz will start Sunday afternoon’s race from seventh ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in eighth, with Aegerter, Baz and Bassani separated by around half-a-second. The #47 pulled off a memorable comeback in the Superpole Race after starting from 19th after enduring a difficult Friday and Saturday, before ensuring he secured a position on the third row as he looks to end the French Round on a high. The fight for the final spot on the third row between Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) and Phillip Oettl (Team GoEleven) went down to the wire, with Vierge just holding on ahead of the German.

Housekeeping: BMWs collide on the opening lap…

After starting from pole position, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) dropped down the order before running slightly wide, with Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) hugging the kerb. The pair made contact and went tumbling into the gravel, with the incident investigated by the FIM Stewards and the #45 handed a Long Lap Penalty. Gerloff returned to the box but retired from the race.

The top nine from the Tissot Superpole Race:

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)

2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.970s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +2.503s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +2.747s

5. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +3.376s

6. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +6.406s

7. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) +6.658s

8. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +6.959s

9. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +8.322s

Fastest Lap – Alvaro Bautista (Ducati), 1’36.084s, new lap record

Race Two

The reigning Champion Bautista opened up his title lead to 57 points after victory in the final race of the French Round

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) bounced back to claim victory in Race 2 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as he took advantages of his rivals battling behind him in a red-flagged MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship race. The reigning Champion extended his lead by five points in the title fight ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) after the Turkish star battled hard with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) for second place.

Red flag halts proceedings: Bautista’s lead brought back

Bautista got a stunning start as the lights went out and immediately moved into the lead but faced stiff competition from Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK). Rea went for a move at Turn 5 on the reigning Champion on the inside, but Bautista was able to pick his bike up well and reclaim the lead instantly. Rea kept the pressure on the #1 but Bautista did start edging out a gap.

However, at the start of Lap 5, the red flags were deployed following an incident involving Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) on the previous lap at Turn 5. Aegerter was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash and declared unfit with a suspected concussion. The incident was placed under investigation by the FIM Stewards and Redding given a double Long Lap Penalty. Although he took to the grid for the restart, Redding had a technical problem on Lap 10 and retired after serving his penalty. At the end of Lap 4, Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) crashed at the final chicane, and he slid across the circuit and into the grass. He was able to take his bike back to the pits. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was unable to restart the race as he suffered a technical issue and could not bring his bike back.

Fighting for the podium: Bautista wins, Razgatlioglu and Rea go head-to-head

On the restart, Bautista moved away well from P1 and, despite challenges from Rea and Razgatlioglu, was able to hold on to the lead. Razgatlioglu moved ahead of Rea on the exit of Turn 15 to claim second but a mistake at Turn 5, where he went in too deep and had to stand the bike up, allowed Bautista to escape in front while he fended off Rea. The #65 looked to overtake his rival on Lap 3 through Turn 4 and into Turn 5 but the Yamaha star cut back, before Rea made a similar move on Lap 6 and made it stick. On Lap 12, the 2021 Champion got a run on his long-time rival and overtook him under braking into Turn 5 to move into second.

Two laps later and the two Champions were side-by-side throughout much of the lap, with Razgatlioglu holding on to second place before Rea tried another move a lap later. Once again, the #54 came out on top in that fight. As the penultimate lap started, Rea looked for second but Razgatlioglu resisted before pulling out a gap on the final lap to beat Rea by just under a second. While those two were fighting, Bautista was out in front, and his gap extended to almost ten seconds before he rolled off in the final few laps before winning by six seconds. It was Bautista’s 51st win in WorldSBK and 81st podium. Razgatlioglu now has 107 podiums to his name, only two fewer than Carl Fogarty, while Rea’s moved onto 259 podiums.

Fierce battle for fourth: Seven seconds separating four riders

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) battled to fourth place in his 100th race start, with the Italian finishing fourth 26 times out of those 100 races. He was half-a-second clear of Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) who capped off an excellent French Round with fifth after starting from tenth. The Texan put in several passes including on Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), also celebrating his 100th start, at Turn 13 on Lap 13 to sixth, before they both passed Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) as he dropped to seventh in the closing stages. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) had been in this battle too but a late issue forced him to retire.

Nothing to choose between P8 and P10: Gardner, Vierge and Oettl scrap

Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) secured eighth place and finished just two seconds away from ‘Petrux’ ahead, but he had to fend off both Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) and Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven), with the trio separated by around four tenths. Oettl secured a top ten finish in France but finished 0.049s behind Vierge after enjoying a strong trip to Magny-Cours for the Independent Ducati rider.

In the points: History made in WorldSBK

Spanish rider Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was 11th and 2.6 seconds down on Oettl as the flag fell with the #7 trying a new Honda chassis this weekend. He had a four-second margin over home hero Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) in 12th as he finished in the points. Rookie Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) gave this team something to cheer on home soil with 13th place, coming off the back of the team’s two WorldSSP podiums at their home round. Both PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team riders scored points with Hafizh Syahrin in 14th and Hannes Soomer four seconds behind. Soomer becomes the first Estonian rider to score WorldSBK points.

Isaac Vinales (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) narrowly missed out on a point as he finished three tenths down on Soomer, while Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) was the last of the classified riders in 18th. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) had a stunning start as the lights went out for the second time as he moved in eighth, but he crashed at Turn 13 on the opening lap; the Brit dropped to last. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) went down at Turn 5 on Lap 3 and retired from the race.

The top six from WorldSBK Race 2:

1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +5.893s

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +6.779s

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +10.978s

5. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +11.482s

6. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +15.258s

Fastest Lap: Alvaro Bautista (Ducati), 1’36.670s

Championship standings

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 467 points

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 410

3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 290

4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 256

5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 219

6. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 180

 

Posted on Monday, September 11th, 2023 in News

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