WSBK: Bumping And Barging – Razgatlioglu Two Wins Out Of Three.
Toprak beats Jonathan Rea to the line in an epic battle between the two riders. Scott Redding was in a very lonely third to limit the gap to the lead two after a difficult weekend.
After an incredible battle in this morning’s Tissot Superpole Race, Toprak Razgatioglu lined up on pole in front of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes. The impressive rookie Andrea Locatelli lined up fourth with Scott Redding in fifth and Michael van der Mark in sixth.
Into Turn one, Toprak got the hole shot but Rea tucked underneath at Turn two to take the lead. Alvaro Bautista was all over the place into Turn one, miles wider than everybody else and Redding got himself into fourth. Toprak was so hard on the brakes, he pulled a huge stoppie into the Adelaide hairpin to out-brake the rest of them to retake the lead. Alex Lowes passed Jonathan Rea but was repassed at the Imola Chicane with a lunge up the inside. Rea went off after Toprak.
On Lap two, Toprak went wide into Turn eight and Rea moved back into the lead. Alex Lowes had his second race crash going into the Nurburgring Chicane, as he tucked the front at speed. Not a great weekend for the second Factory Kawasaki rider. That bought Scott Redding another place and he was in third, clinging onto the lead two for dear life.
Further back, Michael van der Mark was in an impressive fourth for BMW followed by Rinaldi and Chaz Davies.
Lap three saw Toprak use his favourite place to out-brake Rea to retake the lead into the Adelaide Hairpin, but ran wide into Turn eight again to let Rea back through. They were both messing each other’s pace up so Scott Redding was able to stay in touch. Leon Haslam crashed at Turn six to end a better weekend for the man from Derbyshire.
Andrea Locatelli made a forceful move into the final chicane on Michael van der Mark, but Locatelli ran a little wide on the exit allowing the Dutchman back underneath, The two came together on the pit straight and Locatelli caught the front brake of van der Mark and he veered towards the pit wall with the front tyre locked. Luckily, he managed to get his weight in the right place and regather the motorcycle to keep it on two wheels, albeit losing a couple of positions.
On Lap six Toprak did the same again into the Adelaide Hairpin but ran a little wide on exit and made contact with the Kawasaki of Rea. Rea didn’t give the place up and retained the lead. This was an enthralling battle with Scott Redding watching on in third, still in touch.
Lap seven saw Rea starting to get his head down to try and stretch his championship rivals behind. He’d opened a gap to keep Toprak out of his slipstream. Toprak had to respond, and he did. He was back on the rear wheel of Rea within a lap.
On Lap nine, the same move from Toprak into the hairpin, but from a little further back this time. He managed to keep the position – but only until the Imola Chicane, as Rea lifted the Yamaha off of his line to retake the lead. They began to drop Redding who was a second behind.
Lap 10 saw the same move again from Toprak, but this time Rea covered the inside. The Yamaha’s fairing made contact with the elbow of Rea, and he had to yield for Toprak. Rea had a look into the same corner a lap later but Toprak drifted from inside to out to cover all lines, so kept the lead.
Further back, Chaz Davies had made his way through on the BMW of van der Mark with Rinaldi just behind the pair in seventh. Van der Mark fell back a couple of positions after running wide at Turn eight and fell behind the Honda of Alvaro Bautista.
With eight laps to go, Jonathan Rea went hot into the Hairpin at Turn five and came close to the rear of the Yamaha, but he was quickly back on the tail of the leader. A lap later, he braked later than Toprak which caused him to run very wide and Toprak got the cutback to retain the lead. The two were still bolted together with 6 laps to go. They came very close out of Estoril and onto the back straight so Rea braked earlier to give himself a gap in the next corner.
Andrea Locatelli resumed his regular position in fourth, passing Chaz Davies and convincingly gapping the GoEleven Ducati.
Back at the front, Rea pushed really hard into the hairpin, and ran on into the hairpin. He squared it off to get the drive down the straight to Turn six. Mid-corner, Turn 8 Rea tucked the front but dug his knee in to pick the bike up. Toprak then went wide into the Imola Chicane allowing Rea to close back up. They were both pushing the limits for this race win.
With three laps to go, Toprak started to gap Rea and pulled over a second gap on the Kawasaki. Rea losing the front looked to be the final attempt to get the better of Toprak. Rea settled for second and dropped back another couple of seconds in the final two-laps.
Toprak crossed the line with a spectacular stand-up wheelie to take his third victory of the weekend for the first time ever. It was later revealed that Toprak was demoted a place to second in the Superpole race after a minimal track limits infringement pointed out by Rea. Rea looked beaten as he crossed the line in second and Redding looked quite chuffed with third after a difficult weekend. The second of the Factory Yamahas finished fourth in the hands of Andrea Locatelli, with a great result for Chaz Davies in fifth. Alvaro Bautista came home in a hard-fought sixth ahead of Rinaldi and the luckiest man on earth Michael van der Mark. Garrett Gerloff managed to get into the Top 10 in ninth ahead of BMW’s Tom Sykes.
A great battle between the two championship contenders. It’s good for us to see somebody taking it to the WSBK legend that is Jonathan Rea and it’s game on for the championship now. It’s a shame that Toprak was demoted to second in the SP race after a fantastic weekend and he has been denied his first three-from-three, but he will go again next time out in Catalunya.
Featured Image: PATA Yamaha BRIXX WSBK.