WSBK: Razgatlioglu wins a thrilling Superpole Race as it goes to the wire
Toprak Razgatlioglu beats Jonathan Rea in a thrilling last lap scrap that went down to the last chicane at Magny-Cours to break a further Two-points clear of the six-time World Champion.
After yesterday’s race, Toprak Razgatlioglu took the lead in the championship standings, five-points clear of Jonathan Rea. Rea needed a win today to get back on terms with the Turkish rider. His day didn’t get off to the best of starts with Toprak taking top spot in warm-up, looking quick again today.
Jonathan Rea lined up on pole again for the Tissot Superpole Race with Toprak just behind in second. Alex Lowes was also looking for a better couple of races today after a spill at Turn eight in Race one out of a podium position. Scott Redding was also looking to make amends after his nightmare race yesterday. He was looking to get his resurgence back on track from eighth.
Off the start, Jonathan Rea got a great start ahead of Toprak and Andrea Locatelli. As they arrived athe Adelaide Hairpin, Toprak pulled out of the slipstream and slid up the inside of the Kawasaki to take the lead. They came to blows again at the Nurburgring chicane and Rea retook the lead. Alex Lowes made a forceful move on Locatelli at Chateau d’Eau to take third place.
On lap two, Toprak pulled the same move at the Adelaide Hairpin, easing Rea aside in the braking zone to put his Yamaha right on the apex of the corner. He ran slightly wide on the exit but kept the position. Rea looked to sit in the draught of the Turk. Just two laps in, the front two had pulled a gap on Alex Lowes. Scott Redding was sat in eighth, again looking like he was struggling to stop his Ducati Panigale V4, just a couple of laps in. He was stuck in a group of four riders headed by Leon Haslam in fifth with Michael Ruben Rinaldi and his 2022 team-mate Michael van der Mark.
Jonathan Rea set a lap record on lap three as he dug deep to stick with the rapid Yamaha. He looked to be running deep into corner to cling on to the back wheel of the leader of the race and championship. Michael van der Mark managed to get to the head of the big group in fifth – that had Redding in it, and stretched back to Axel Bassani in 11th. Redding followed the BMW through the group to work his way up to 6th on Lap five. He made the pass into Turn 15, still looking a bit unsteady on the brakes.
With four laps remaining, Jonathan Rea massively out-braked himself into Turn five and was millimetres away from collecting the rear wheel of Toprak. He lost a chunk of time but quickly managed to regain his composure and get back in touch with the Yamaha. On the penultimate lap, Rea looked really strong in the second half of the track and gained two or three bike lengths into the Imola Chicane.
On the final lap, Rea tucked into the slipstream going down the back straight and took a wide line in to get the best possible exit down to the Nurburgring chicane. As they approached the Imola Chicane, Rea pulled a surprise move on the Yamaha, let the brake off and rolled up the inside into the lead. Toprak looked to immediately fight back into Chateau d’Eau but Rea positioned his bike perfectly to cover the inside. Toprak had another pop at Rea down into Turn 15 from a long way back, and slid up the inside as they both wobbled on the brakes. Rea looked for the cut-back underneath but Toprak put his bike in the middle of the road to cover the line into the final chicane. Toprak bounced over the final chicane kerb to take his second victory of the weekend, ahead of Jonathan Rea.
Further back, Alex Lowes took third with Locatelli in fourth (again) and a damage limitation exercise for Scott Redding in fifth. Michael van der Mark finished sixth in front of Alvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies, with Haslam and Rinaldi rounding out the Top 10.
The race was everything a sprint race in a close championship should be. Close, forceful and fair racing with two riders giving it their all for the championship. Toprak Razgatlioglu is now seven-points clear of Jonathan Rea after that stunner of a fight.
Featured Image: Pata Yamaha With BRIXX WSBK.