Difficult weather conditions and tyre choices dominated the Tissot Superpole Race for the Pirelli Aragon Round at MotorLand Aragon as the second race of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) holding off an early challenge in the 10-lap race to claim his 101st WorldSBK victory.
LIGHTS OUT… BATTLE FOR THE LEAD
Redding got the holeshot from the front row to lead from Rea into Turn 1, although he ran wide allowing Rea back through. For the first couple of laps, Redding, Rea and Lowes engaged in a battle for the lead, although the intermediate tyres for Kawasaki gave them the advantage mid-way through the second lap.
It enabled both Rea and Lowes to get ahead of Redding to take another KRT 1-2 in Aragon, repeating the result from yesterday’s Race 1 to claim Kawasaki’s 160th WorldSBK victory, and the first time Kawasaki have started a season with two consecutive 1-2 finishes. The battle for third burst into life on Lap 4 with Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Eazi-Grip supported Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) battling for the final podium spot; the American passing Davies at the final corner on Lap 4 to secure his fourth WorldSBK podium and tying with the late, great Nicky Hayden in terms of WorldSBK podiums. The result means Rea will start from pole in Race 2, with Lowes and Gerloff on the front row and Davies in fourth place.
RISK VS REWARD
Eazi-Grip supported Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) secured a top five start for Race 2 with fifth place, battling through the field despite starting on the Pirelli SCX tyres; coming through the field as the track dried more. Van der Mark was 19 seconds clear of former teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) in sixth, who will complete the second row in Race 2.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) will start in seventh place for Sunday’s Race 2, with Redding eventually coming home in eighth place, holding off the challenge from Japanese rookie Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who will complete the top nine on the grid for Race 2. Nozane’s ninth place means he secures Japan’s first top ten finish since Yuki Takahashi in 2019 in Race 1 at Misano.
There were three retirements from the race with Eazi-Grip supported Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) the first to retire; the French rider crash on Lap 1, and while he was able to mount his bike again, he retired from the race. Samuele Cavalieri (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) retired later in the race while Eazi-Grip supported Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) came into the pits towards the end of the 10-lap race.
The top nine following the Tissot Superpole Race:
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
- Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +3.506s
- Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +5.051
- Eazi-Grip supported Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) +8.908s
- Eazi-Grip supported Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +10.175s
- Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +29.342s
- Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +29.565s
- Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +33.361s
- Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +33.675s
Fastest lap: Eazi-Grip supported Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 1’56.261s
After a disappointing Tissot Superpole Race, Redding responded in phenomenal fashion with commanding Race 2 victory
The drama continued in the final MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship race of the Pirelli Aragon Round after a tyre gamble by Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) meant he responded to earlier disappointment to claim a sensational victory in Race 2 at MotorLand Aragon, coming home almost ten seconds clear of his rivals.
LIGHTS OUT AND GERLOFF FIGHTS TO THE FRONT
An earlier rain shower meant the track was wet but drying throughout the day and, although there was a drying line appearing, most riders decided to race with the immediate tyres. As the track dried further, Redding was able to make his slick tyres work to move into the front and he did not look back, while Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) came home in second ahead of teammate Alex Lowes.
The intermediate runners started off the race in the strongest position with six-time World Champion Rea (and teammate Lowes with American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Gerloff was able to make the move on Lowes for second place.
He soon had his eyes on Rea but it ended with Gerloff coming off his bike and Rea taking a trip through the gravel at Turn 14; an incident that cost both riders places and was placed under investigation by the FIM WorldSBK stewards, and Gerloff given a Long Lap Penalty; the first rider in WorldSBK to be given such a penalty.
The incident allowed Lowes, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) and Eazi-Grip supported Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to jump ahead of Rea, with Razgatlioglu challenging Lowes for the lead of the race before van der Mark got by his former teammate to give the BMW M 1000 RR its first lap in the lead.
TYRE GAMBLE PAYS OFF
The mixed conditions meant different strategies on the grid with tyre selection with only Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) and Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) starting from the grid, although Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) made the switch to slicks before the race started with the Italian starting from the pit lane.
While the intermediate runners had the advantage in the early stages of the races, the track soon came into favour for the slick-shod bikes, with Redding passing Razgatlioglu for the lead and soon pulling out a large gap to the chasing pack to take his first win of the 2021 season.
While Redding extended his lead out in front, the battle for second was hotting up between van der Mark, Rea, Lowes, Razgatlioglu and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who managed his intermediate tyres to latch onto the battle for second place. Rea had briefly got ahead of van der Mark at the final corner, but the Dutchman was able to fight back, although Rea was able to make the same move work on Lap 10 until Turn 1 on the next lap, with van der Mark fighting back.
Eazi-Grip supported Sykes was able to pass Razgatlioglu on Lap 12 of 18 to move into fifth place as BMW searched for a strong result on their first weekend with the new BMW M 1000 RR, although the move cost both riders time. On Lap 13, Rea was able to make a move on van der Mark and make it stick to secure second place, before Lowes followed through a couple of laps later. Van der Mark tried to fight back but found himself sandwiched between teammate Sykes, who was on the kerbs at Turn 1, and Lowes on the inside, with van der Mark eventually falling down to fifth behind Lowes in third and Sykes fourth; the first time two BMWs have finished in the top five since 2013.
THE POINTS SCORERS
Drama was never far away in this race and that continued throughout the top ten with a three-way battle for sixth place between Razgatlioglu, Folger and Gerloff; the Turkish star just about holding on from Gerloff and Folger, who started on slick tyres. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) was ninth with Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) securing his first top-ten finish.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) came home in 11th place ahead of a trio of rookies as Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) secured another points finish in his maiden WorldSBK weekend, Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 13th and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 14th on an impressive weekend for the youngest rider on the grid. Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) was the final points position with 15th, finishing ahead of Rinaldi.
Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse) was the only BMW rider outside the top ten, finish just clear of Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) who was 18th. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) was the first to fall victim to the difficult conditions as he came off his Ducati Panigale V4 R at Turn, forcing the Welshman to retire from Race 2 on the opening lap of the race. Leon Haslam’s (Team HRC) race came to an end on Lap 5 after he came off his Honda at Turn 2, with the British rider retiring from the race. Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) was another retirement after he crashed at Turn 1. Davies was able to finish the race in 19th despite the crash, ahead of TPR Team Pedercini Racing duo Loris Cresson and Samuele Cavalieri.
The top six following WorldSBK Race 2:
- Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati)
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +9.856s
- Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +10.434s
- Eazi-Grip supported Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +12.094s
- Eazi-Grip supported Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +16.234s
- Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +20.1912
Fastest lap: Eazi-Grip supported Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) 1’52.717s
Championship standings: Rea (57 points), Lowes (45 points), Redding (40 points)