WSBK: Rea takes Pole as Razgatlioglu joins him on the Front Row
Jonathan Rea takes pole position at Magny-Cours with his championship rival Toprak Razgatlioglu closely following him in second as Scott Redding sits in eighth and gives himself quite a task for the race later today.
A World Superbike Championship classic this weekend at the Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours. This track has agreed to be on the calendar until at least 2024 and has seen some great races over the years. With this year’s championship hanging in the balance with Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu on equal points, and a resurgent Scott Redding a further 38-points behind, this weekend is set to be a thriller.
In the dry Free Practice Two, Toprak set the quickest pace with Scott Redding in second and Jonathan Rea in third, they were set for a titanic battle for pole position in this morning’s Superpole.
The 15-minute session got underway as the so-far-absent sun started to break through the clouds.
Honda’s Leon Haslam was having a decent weekend so far with an eighth in Free Practice Three ahead of his Spanish team-mate Alvaro Bautista. He was the first to set a quick lap, but was quickly pipped by Alex Lowes on the Factory Kawasaki.
Toprak Razgatlioglu was the first of the championship contenders to hit the top of the timesheets, but was knocked off early by BMW’s Tom Sykes. He is fighting for a ride next year, after Scott Redding has been signed to take the Yorkshireman’s bike.
Pucetti Kawasaki’s Luca Mahias is racing at home this weekend and followed Jonathan Rea to be dragged up to fourth position after the first set of laps set by the field. Scott Redding was down in tenth after the first run, so needed to improve.
Alex Lowes set a really quick lap with five and a half minutes to go, just four tenths of a second off the all-time lap record. This was on the SCX Tyre which isn’t even the super-soft qualifier. A great effort from the Brit.
With four minutes left of the session, the pitlane emptied again as the riders started their laps to try and knock Alex Lowes off top spot to obtain the French WSBK Tissot Superpole award. They had the Qualifying tyres on the rears of the bikes to get the optimal lap time.
Toprak was the first to beat Alex Lowes’ lap, just under three-tenths clear of the Kawasaki. Lucas Mahias went sown at Turn one with just under a minute to go. He looked a little shaken, holding his wrist as the bike laid in bits in the gravel.
Jonathan Rea just missed Mahias’ accident and went top with a new all-time lap record to take pole position ahead of his championship rival, Toprak Razgatliouglu.
Tom Sykes ended the session in third position ahead of Alex Lowes and Andrea Locatelli. Leon Haslam got a brilliant sixth on his Honda ahead of the Aruba.it Ducati pairing of Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Scott Redding respectively. Redding has given himself a lot to do off the start later on today and he sits just ahead of his team-mate for next year Michael van der Mark. Lucas Mahias rounds out the top ten but looked questionable as he sat slumped in the gravel looking a little worse for wear.
All set for a cracking race later today with Jonathan Rea taking pole position yet again to put it to his rivals, but it’s almost certain Toprak Razgatlioglu will be challenging the six-time World Champ as early as he can on the first lap.
Featured Image: Kawasaki Racing Team WSBK