WSBK: Toprak Razgatlioglu Is Back To Winning Ways As Bautista Crashes Out In WSBK 2022 Donington Race One.
Toprak Dominates The Opening Race Of The Weekend At Donington Park.
Reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu hits back at title rivals Jonathan Rea and Alvaro Bautista to claim his first long distance race win of the season, and second overall win of the season after emerging victorious in the Superpole Race last time out at Misano. The Turkish rider has not had this season as defending champion all go his way, despite consistencies of finishing on the podium positions in third and second however, nevertheless had lost ground at the start of the season to the Spaniard of former MotoGP star Bautista and the Northern Irishman of 6-time World Champion Rea. “I’m really happy, finally a victory”, exclaimed the star from Alanya, Turkey, after claiming victory from third on the grid for PATA Yamaha.
The defending World Champion made a lightning start from third on the grid, to immediately get past the two Kawasaki’s of Rea and Alex Lowes at the first corner of the circuit Redgate, and never relinquished the lead. An absolute masterclass of a performance from Toprak, who therefore, brought the championship gap to championship leader Bautista to 54 points. 38 points now behind second placed Rea.
Bautista had a race completely thrown away. While the battle for second place between the top two in the championship was so exciting to watch, Ducati will leave Race one at Donington thinking they had blown it, after the championship leader crashed out at Goddards, the final corner of the circuit, in second place, ahead of Rea, in a race where the Spaniard could’ve extended his championship lead with a second place finish, as Toprak was too far to catch, but instead, the red Ducati of the No.19 ended up losing the front at the final corner, bringing the title race much much closer. Furthermore, Jonathan Rea will take advantage of Bautista’s misfortunes and his own second place had closed the gap between him and the Spaniard at the top of the table to 16 points. “It was tough”, Jonny said despite taking maximum points possible and capitalising on Bautista’s crash, and the six-time World Champion closed the gap at the top, despite coming up short and not having the race pace like Toprak did, but Rea will obviously be the happier of him and Bautista, going into the rest of the weekend.
Alvaro had led the 2019 world championship too onboard a Ducati in his debut WSBK season, but ultimately lost out to Rea that season, despite such a strong start and a run of race victories. If we see a similar pattern this year, then the Spaniard must up his consistency if he wishes to win the World Superbike Championship one day in the sport after his career didn’t quite work out how he would’ve ideally wanted to in MotoGP from 2010 to 2018.
Completing the podium for Race one was home star Alex Lowes. The team-mate of Jonathan Rea at Kawasaki from Lincoln, produced a fine ride to complete a double rider podium for the race for Kawasaki, as the men in green now closed the gap to Ducati by 14 points in the constructors championship. Despite this fine ride from Alex though, he had to cope with an intense British battle with Gloucester born Scott Redding, onboard the works BMW, but ultimately, it was Lowes who won out the battle to complete the podium. Rea’s teammate is currently 7th in the championship standings, on 91 points, behind the top three, fourth placed Locatelli, Lecuona in fifth and Rinaldi in sixth, while Redding is down in 10th with Bassani and Vierge just in front of him.
Andrea Locatelli had a disappointing race, finishing in 10th place, which is only six points, and is the closest challenger currently to the top three in the championship, 52 points behind race winner Toprak, however with only one second placed finish to his name in Race two of Assen, it looks very likely now going into the rest of the season that the title is between three contenders and the three favourites now to most likely win the crown, and we’re not exactly halfway either into the season yet.
Can championship leader Bautista bounce back in Race two from his Race one disaster crash (that has brought the title race well and truly wide open again), can consistency pay off from what didn’t work in 2019 and go on to finally win the crown, or will the hero from Northern Ireland break World Superbikes records once again and record a seventh crown under Jonathan Rea’s name, or is Toprak really back and is his 2021 form showing once again after that amazing display? Three candidates, three manufacturers, three teams, only one though can clinch the ultimate prize all the way at the end of November in Phillip Island, Australia.
Featured Images: Pata Yamaha With BRIXX WSBK, Olithephoto, WSBK.com.