WSBK: TOPRAK COMPLETES HAT TRICK AT DONINGTON – WSBK 2022: Donington Race Two.
Toprak Razgatlioglu rounded off a phenomenal weekend in the East Midlands for himself and the Pata Yamaha World Superbike squad with a thrice of victories throughout the weekend here for Round five of the 2022 World Superbike Championship at Donington Park.
With yet another stunning victory for Toprak and making life in the championship even harder for his nearest title rivals Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea, this time however, unlike in Race one and the Superpole Race, the defending world champion had to work for this race as this race proved to be the hardest one of them all for the Turkish rider.
After long standing pressure from both Bautista and Rea, especially Rea in the first part of the race. Jonathan Rea found in the early laps, manoeuvres on the No.one, especially coming out of Coppice Corner, onto the Dunlop and into the Foggy Esses at start of the second half of the race circuit, but Toprak fought back to relinquish the lead each time his title rivals put gloves on the Yamaha rider, and rode a delightful defensive display instead for this race. “We’re going to keep fighting for the championship”, Toprak said after the race, implying that he is warning his title rivals on the rest of the season.
Championship leader Bautista snatched second place off Jonathan Rea with five laps to go at the Melbourne Loop, diving down the inside line at the right hander hairpin on the six-time world champion. It may have been a slightly disappointing weekend at Donington for Alvaro, especially knowing this track very well from his MotoGP days (Bautista has won here before in 2006, the year of Alvaro Bautista’s breakthrough year, winning the 125cc championship before stepping up to the 250cc category for 2007) however, this second place feels like a consolidation to the weekend, considering crashing out of Race one and off the rostrum during the Superpole Race. “We have to keep going like we are doing” the Spaniard said, vowing and hoping to stay to hold on to his title lead. Jonathan Rea will feel the most disappointed though of the three title candidates from this race.
The Northern Irishman pressured Toprak early on, but again just like Race one, fell short and then lost second to Bautista with five laps to go. Rea may have been waving to the crowd after the race but sounded disappointed with his race afterwards, however he thanked the fans for the support from his home race. “Thanks very much guys for coming out, it’s been awesome to see everyone around the track”.
Elsewhere, behind the top three, Michael Ruben Rinaldi brought his Ducati home to be best of the rest and secure fourth position, ahead of Redding, Lowes, Bassani, Locatelli, Baz, and Lecuona completing the top 10. Andrea Locatelli’s eighth place, as well as Rinaldi’s fourth place meant that Rinaldi closed the gap to him to five points as after this weekend, it looked certain that the battle for fourth place in the standings, was the battle for the best of the rest as Locatelli is now 79 points behind third placed Toprak, and 122 points behind championship leader Bautista. Furthermore, all the victories so far in this season’s World Superbike Championship have all been accumulated by the top three of Bautista, Rea, and Toprak.
The reigning world champion’s perfect weekend meant that the Toprak now sits behind 43 points behind Alvaro Bautista, and 26 points behind Jonathan Rea, while Rea is now 17 points behind Bautista. Rea may have been the most disappointed of the three title contenders during that race, however, he has had a much better weekend at his home GP than Bautista, considering Rea being on the podium in each race, while the Spaniard crashed out of the first race, and was off the podium during the Superpole Race. However, neither of the top two have lived up to Toprak’s performances from the weekend, as Toprak is the biggest winner of them all and has brought the defending champion right back in the title mix. Let’s see who ends up on top at the halfway stage of the season at Autodrom Most for the Czech Superbike GP.
Featured Images: WSBK.com, Pata Yamaha With BRIXX WSBK.