The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s Tissot Superpole session at the Autodrom Most was a thrilling spectacle. A new circuit and a new challenge saw all of the riders have to bites at the cherry at trying to set pole position, and it was entertaining from the green light. With drama until the end and in the end, it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who stormed to a sixth consecutive pole at the start of the season, the fifth rider in WorldSBK history to achieve this, subsequently the 90th front row of his career.
THE STORY OF SUPERPOLE: Unpredictable from the start
At the start of the session, Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was one of a handful of riders that went out on the Q tyre, whilst after the first five minutes, it was Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) and teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu who led the way, whilst Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was right in the mix. Alternative strategies were the call of the day at Ducati, as Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi set their first flying laps with less than ten minutes to go, placing first and fourth respectively.
The duel for pole then continued and it was Rea who dazzled, as he went and took over at the top after his first run on the Q tyre, aiming for his sixth consecutive pole of the season. It wasn’t over yet though, as both factory Yamahas and the factory Ducati of Redding went out for their final attempts to try and displace the Ulsterman, whilst Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was also on a march, jumping up to the front row provisionally.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: The final front row
In a frantic final two minutes however, the gloves really came off as Toprak Razgatlioglu rocketed to the top of the standings with a 1’31.751, the first ever sub-1’32 lap of the Autodrom Most, although it would be Jonathan Rea who put in a thrilling final sector to blitz to the top and conquering Razgatlioglu to grab a sixth straight pole at the start of the season. Razgatlioglu was right in the mix and will start from second on the grid, whilst Scott Redding’s final flying lap went away from him at the final sector, but his time was still good enough for third. The top three in the Championship are the top three on the grid, and in the Championship order too.
CLOSE BEHIND: Power-packed row two
Tom Sykes’ lap time saw him miss out on the front row by just 0.015s and he will head up the second row from fourth on the grid, whilst American Garrett Gerloff slotted into fifth after a solid Tissot Superpole session. Claiming his best Superpole performance, Andrea Locatelli was sixth and 0.651s behind Rea on the top spot, although at some point throughout the session, all of the top six enjoyed a stint at the top of the timesheets.
THE REST OF THE TOP 10: Contenders all the way
Top Honda honours went to Leon Haslam (Team HRC), as the veteran British rider out-qualified teammate Alvaro Bautista for a fifth time in 2021 – Bautista in-turn just 11th. Eighth place was Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with the Italian never really featuring too prominently throughout the session. Ninth place belonged to Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who will be wanting more after ending day one in second place. Completing the top ten is Italian Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), the top Independent Ducati on the grid.
SHOCKS AND SURPRISES: Outside of the top ten…
There were plenty of surprises throughout the rest of the field, with Marvin Fritz (IXS-YART Yamaha) and fellow wildcard teammate Karel Hanika finishing 12th and 13th respectively despite Hanika suffering a crash at Turn 16, whilst there was a huge surprise from super-sub Alessandro Delbianco (MIE Racing Honda Team), who was 14th and just over half a second from the top ten. Delbianco was ahead of rookie Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) in 15th, 32-time race winner Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) and Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), as the Dutchman enjoyed a dire Superpole session down in 17th.
Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), Isaac Viñales (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura), Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport – Yamaha), Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing), Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and debutant teammate Jayson Uribe completed the starting grid for the first ever race at Most at 14:00 local time (GMT+2).
Top six after WorldSBK Superpole, full results here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’31.684s
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +0.067s
3. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.474s
4. Eazi-Grip supported Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.489s
5. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.554s
6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +0.651s
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s first ever race at the Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic fired up on Saturday and was a thrilling spectacle across the 22 laps of the new circuit. After Rea crashed twice, it was a head-to-head grandstand finish between Razgatlioglu and Redding, with the Turk coming out on top in a final lap thriller.
TYRE TALK: Once again key
Tyres were once again an influencing factor, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) opting for the SC1 development front and SC0 rear, whilst second on the grid and second in the Championship Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) went different and opted for the standard SC1 front and the SCX rear. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) played it safe, with a standard SC1 front and SC0 rear
LIGHTS OUT: Most’s first ever race ignites
As the lights went out, Rea and Razgatlioglu got their customary flying starts and into Turn 1, the Turk got the holeshot ahead of Rea, whilst Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) out-braked himself and had to use the escape road. Scott Redding was third whilst Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) blasted up the order into fourth, from eighth on the grid. Sykes rejoined the action in fifth, whilst it was a bright start for Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC), up from 11th and into seventh.
Rea put a stunning pass on Razgatlioglu at Turn 18 on Lap 2 but ran wide, giving Toprak the lead back and allowing Redding to come steaming on through and into second. Redding wasn’t done there though, as he then blasted through on Razgatlioglu on Lap 3 at Turn 1. Razgatlioglu then went wide at Turn 10, with Rea hitting second as the gloves came off.
RACE OF ATTRITION: Big names are claimed
There was drama down field as Alessandro Delbianco (MIE Racing Honda Team) crashed out at Turn 15 on Lap 3, before Karel Hanika (IXS-YART Yamaha) crashed on Lap 4. The crashes kept coming as American debutant Jayson Uribe (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) also went down at Turn 15. Big names were also part of the drama as Lap 5 claimed Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at Turn 1, before Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) joined him in a separate incident, both able to rejoin before Davies eventually retired.
On Lap 7, Rea had been closed back in by Razgatlioglu as both were dropped by Redding by 1.8 seconds. Turn 13 saw the Ulsterman make a mistake, allowing Razgatlioglu to pounce at Turn 14 before Rea got him back at Turn 20. Toprak then repaid the favour at Turn 1 on the following lap before he began to edge closer to Redding. Further down the field, it was drama for Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) on Lap 8, as he suffered a big engine blow up at Turn 20 but thankfully didn’t leave any fluid on the track. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) quietly went about his business and was into fourth ahead of Rinaldi.
On Lap 10, it was close again between Razgatlioglu and Rea with the title battle now being played out between the two, whilst Tito Rabat’s (Barni Racing Team) race was over as he crashed at Turn 1, before Alvaro Bautista tumbled down the order from sixth to 11th after a mistake, promoting Italian rookie sensation into sixth place, placing him as top Independent rider. Further down and having been in the points, Belgian rider Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) added to the Italian team’s tricky Race 1, crashing out at Turn 15.
A TWIST AND A TURN: Mistakes and a costly crash
The gap between Redding and Razgatlioglu was now down to under a second as Lap 13 started, but Lap 14 would see a major moment for the race and an even bigger moment for the Championship. Jonathan Rea, chasing Toprak, tucked the front from third at Turn 1, just as he and Razgatlioglu were edging closer to Redding. Rea remounted in the blink of an eye, circulating in 11th but with eight to go, he had a chance of the top ten.
The tyres were now coming into play in the final six laps, as Razgatlioglu with the SCX tyre was now right with race leader Redding, who in-turn was setting a strong pace. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who was having a quiet race in sixth, also began setting his personal best lap and sector times, also on the SCX tyre. There was also a big battle for fourth, as Axel Bassani was giving Rinaldi something to think about.
CLOSER AT THE FRONT AND ANOTHER CRASH: A tale of two halves…
With five to go, Rea crashed again, this time heavily at Turn 20 but the Championship leader was up on his feet. Meanwhile, in a titanic fight at the front, Razgatlioglu went around the outside of Redding at Turn 14 with four to go, before Redding blasted back ahead at Turn 1 a lap later. The gloves were off as the passionate Most fans were on their feet, with WorldSBK putting on a stunning spectacle in the first WorldSBK race at the track.
FINAL LAP THRILLER: One of the best in WorldSBK
The last lap was upon the leading two and Redding rode a fantastic first half a lap, but Razgatlioglu was relentless in the final two sectors, as he made a bold move at Turn 15 but ran wide. Everyone sat back, thinking Redding had the race done but a stunning run through Turn 16, 17, 18 and 19 brought Razgatlioglu back into contention and he lay it all on the line, putting on a thrilling move at Turn 20, running Redding wide. Redding powered the Ducati to the line out of the last corner and closed right in, but it was too late. Razgatlioglu took one of his finest wins, with Redding in second and Andrea Locatelli taking third, some 13.8 seconds behind.
Top six after Race 1 at Most, full results here:
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK)
2. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.040s
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +13.838s
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +16.650s
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +16.935s
6. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +17.099s
The final race for the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Autodrom Most and the Tissot Czech Round was yet another intriguing spectacle. With Toprak Razgatlioglu and Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) first and second on the grid and going for the same tyre combination (standard SC1 front and SCX rear), Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had opted for the SC1 front and SC0 rear. After hitting the front, Redding never looked back and beat Razgatlioglu, whilst Rea was a distant third.
OFF AND RUNNING: Lights out for Race 2
As the race fired up, it was a blinding start from Toprak Razgatlioglu, who grabbed the holeshot from teammate Andrea Locatelli. Scott Redding initially got a poor first phase of his start but recovered to third, whilst Jonathan Rea was down in fourth with teammate Alex Lowes knocking right at his door, with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in sixth. There was a Turn 1 pile-up with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) crashing, taking down Alessandro Delbianco (MIE Racing Honda Team); the incident forced Karel Hanika (IXS-YART Yamaha), Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) and Isaac Viñales (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) to go across the gravel. All riders were on their feet and relatively OK.
Prodding and probing all the time, particularly at Turn 1, Scott Redding finally got ahead of Andrea Locatelli on Lap 3 at Turn 20, placing his Ducati in the middle of the two Pata Yamahas. Jonathan Rea’s SC0 tyre had now come into its own and he was right with the three ahead of him, as teammate Lowes started to drop off. Further down the field, it was a bright start from Leon Haslam (Team HRC), who came up through the order into seventh from tenth on the grid.
PASS FOR THE LEAD: Redding pounces
Lap 5 saw Redding hit the front at Turn 1, passing Razgatlioglu after drawing alongside his rival down the front straight and getting the job finalized in the braking area. Meanwhile, Jonathan Rea wasn’t making the inroads predicted, as he was eight tenths behind Andrea Locatelli and slowly slipping back towards Alex Lowes, just half a second splitting them after seven laps. However, on Lap 8, Locatelli and Lowes made errors, meaning Rea was now back in the fight for third and got ahead of Locatelli on Lap 9 at Turn 20.
THE FIGHT BEHIND: Everywhere you look…
It was a tight fight for sixth place as Sykes held position ahead of an inspired Leon Haslam, whilst Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was only eighth. After a strong Superpole Race, Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was up in ninth from 17th on the grid, whilst Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) having a quiet race in tenth place, but his pace began to pick up as the race evolved. Three laps later and it was all change in a first chicane shuffle, with Rinaldi now sixth ahead of Sykes, van der Mark, Gerloff and Haslam, with the ‘Pocket Rocket’ suddenly dropping back into the clutches of teammate Alvaro Bautista, who eventually got ahead of him with six to go.
Meanwhile, back at the front, Scott Redding was riding the race of his life as he eased clear of Razgatlioglu and broke the Turkish rider’s spirit. With the gap now over three seconds and with Razgatlioglu settling for second, Redding was able to run his own pace. Behind the top two, Rea was a further seven seconds behind whilst Locatelli was keeping him honest in fourth. Alex Lowes, also using the SCX tyre, was being caught by Rinaldi, van der Mark and Gerloff and with two laps to go, Lowes had less than a second back to Rinaldi.
LAST LAP TIME: Redding on fire
Scott Redding rode the perfect race for a first win since Estoril’s Tissot Superpole Race, taking the plaudits of the passionate Czech fans at Most. Razgatlioglu finished second and was now just three points behind Jonathan Rea in the Championship – Rea himself finishing third. Locatelli took fourth in another stunning performance, whilst Michael Ruben Rinaldi got fifth on the final lap with a pass on Alex Lowes at Turn 1. Yamaha’s strength’s this weekend mean that they are now three points clear of Kawasaki in the manufacturer standings, with Ducati another three further back.
Lowes held on for sixth as he ran out of tyre life at the end of the race, whilst former teammate Michael van der Mark was top BMW in seventh. Garrett Gerloff took a solid eighth as his trademark late-race pace saw him come on strong. Ninth went to Tom Sykes, whilst Alvaro Bautista completed the top ten. Leon Haslam was eleventh ahead of Chaz Davies who fought back after Turn 1-Lap 1 drama.
THE REST: How did it finish down field?
Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team), Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport Yamaha) completed the points in Race 2. Behind them, Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing), Isaac Viñales, Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz (IXS-YART Yamaha), Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and teammate Jayson Uribe – after coming into the pits – completed the final results.
Top six after Most Race 2, full results here:
1. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +3.587s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +12.460s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +15.206s
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +19.479s
6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +19.901s
Fastest lap Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’32.415s
Championship standings after Most Race 2, full standings here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 266 points
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) 263 points
3. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 216 points
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 143 points
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 135 points
6. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 127 points
After Scott Redding’s win in Race 2 he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend Jacey Hayden on the podium. She said yes and are now engaged! Congratulations from us all at Eazi-Grip.