Toprak Takes the first race victory of the weekend
Toprak Razgatlioglu started on pole position with Johnathan Rea alongside in second with Leon Haslam on the tail-end of the front-row. Scott Redding was fourth with Andrea Locatelli starting in seventh. The rear SCX Tyre was removed from the long race allocation due to the high tyre temperatures the track generates. Alex Lowes was declared unfit despite showing strong pace on Friday.
The lights went out and it was Toprak who led into turn one but ran wide and Rea was able to slip up the inside of the Turkish rider into turn two. Toprak then immediately fought back into turn five and Scott Redding was trying his hardest to find a way passed but was forced to remain in second position.
As they ended lap one it was Toprak from Rea and Redding rounding out the top three, Leon Haslam was in fourth position with Michael Rueben Rinaldi fifth and Andrea Locatelli in sixth. Into turn ten Toprak was wide and Rea tried to find a way through but Toprak regained in the inside line for turn 12, Rea retaliated into turn 13 but ran a little bit wide and Toprak took the gap and they collided! Luckily Rea managed to stay on.
One lap later Rea tried the pass at turn 13 and this time made it stick on the championship leader. Down the start finish straight and Redding used the power of the Ducati to pass both Rea and Toprak with Toprak passing Rea in the process. The two championship leaders then nearly collided again at turn three, but Toprak sat the Yamaha up. Rea was then able to move into second at turn 11, Redding then went wide at turn 13 but was able to maintain the lead.
Onto lap five and Toprak was able to retake Rea down the straight, but took Toprak back at turn 11 again, and Scott ran wide at turn 13 again and Rea took the lead, but then Rea went down at turn 15 losing the front in a bizarre crash, could this be the end of the six time World Champions title hopes?
Meanwhile behind the the two leaders, there was a huge battle for the final podium spot which was headed by Leon Haslam, but he was under heavy pressure from Rinaldi, Loactelli, Loris Baz and Alvaro Bautista with Michael Van Der Mark and Garrett Gerloff in the background. On lap on the start finish straight it was five abreast between all the riders with Rinaldi now in third, but not for long with Loris Baz going into third place. Alvaro Bautista using the power of the Honda and his light weight to move from seventh to fifth.
Heading into the halfway stage it was tooth and nail between Toprak and Redding with Toprak overtaking Redding into turn one on lap to take the lead as the Turkish rider knows this could be a pivotal moment in his quest to become World Superbike Champion. Toprak was beginning to open a gap on the Brit.
Alvaro Bautista moved into third place on lap 12 with Frenchman Baz in fourth and now Michael Van Der Mark was hunting for the final podium spot. A few laps later and Baz had taken back the third place, then Locatelli clipped the back of Van Der Mark at turn five.
With five laps remaining and Redding overtook Toprak down the main straight but Toprak immediately fought back, out-braking Scott and retaking the lead of the race. Two laps later an it was deja vu with Redding taking the lead down the straight with Toprak retaking the position into turn one.
Redding was able to pull-up alongside the Yamaha of Toprak into turn one and took the lead but Toprak was able to slip back up the inside into turn two, and it looked like it would come down to the final few yards on the final lap to decide the race.
Onto the final lap Toprak maintained the lead into turn one, the battle for third was heating up between Baz and Bautista with the two switching places at turn one and two with the Spaniard coming out on top.
Toprak Razgatlioglu held off the attack from Redding to take his 11th win of the season, Redding finished in second place and drama as Alvaro Bautista crash at the final corner in similar style to Rea earlier on, a heartbreaking end to the race for Bautista and the Honda HRC Team, Loris Baz would cross the line to be the 13th different podium finisher of the season. Rinaldi finished in fourth with Leon Haslam rounding out the top five.
Toprak now leads the championship by 45 points ahead of Johnathan Rea with Scott Redding 79 points behind the championship leader, it’s in favour of Toprak with only eight races and 161 points remaining.
Featured Images: WorldSBK.com