Turkish rider storms to second successive victory as Rea sets up first title chance in Race 2
Yesterday’s comeback was impressive as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) claimed a momentous maiden victory, but the 22-year-old made it two out of two at the Pirelli French Round, clinching a stunning Tissot Superpole Race victory after another battle with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who now has the mathematical possibility of securing a fifth WorldSBK crown in Race 2 this afternoon.
As the lights went out, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) launched into an early lead, slipping up the inside of Jonathan Rea into the first corner. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) maintained third with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) climbing two places to fourth. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu were both big movers, improving up to 8th and 10th respectively.
The Razgatlioglu roll continued on the second lap, gaining three places in an incredible move on the brakes into the Adelaide hairpin, overhauling Chaz Davies, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team). In the meantime, Jonathan Rea had managed to wrestle control away from Michael van der Mark, easing up the inside at the Imola chicane.
11 places had been gained in the first two laps, and two more would follow for Razgatlioglu on Lap 3, as the remarkable prowess of the Turkish rider on the brakes took him past Tom Sykes at the Adelaide hairpin, before Leon Haslam relinquished third three corners later. When Michael van der Mark was overtaken at Adelaide shortly before half distance, the stage was set for a repeat of yesterday’s last lap battle for the lead in Race 1.
On Lap 7, the comeback was complete with the Turkish Puccetti Racing rider storming up the inside of Rea into his favourite overtaking spot, the Adelaide hairpin. The world champion stayed in touch with Razgatlioglu, and even threatened a counter attack on the final lap, but the Ulsterman couldn’t quite get his Kawasaki stopped into Turn 5, opening the door for Toprak to ease past on the exit and claim his second victory in a row.
The fight for the final front row spot in Race 2 went down to the last lap as well with Chaz Davies, who had earlier made light work of Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes, chasing down the Yamaha of Michael van der Mark. The Dutchman held on for third in the end, with Davies ensuring he will head the second row of the grid this afternoon in fourth. Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) produced a strong recovery to finish fifth, setting similar lap times to the leaders at various points of the race, but the Spaniard must avoid any mistakes in Race 2 to keep Jonathan Rea waiting for the title. Alex Lowes was sixth, and will complete row two on the grid for Race 2.
Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) returned the favour after losing out to Tom Sykes in the latter stages of Race 1. The Frenchman delighted the home crowd by snatching seventh on the last lap with Leon Haslam falling back to ninth by the chequered flag, the last of the points scorers.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) rode a strong race to tenth as all 20 starters completed the Tissot Superpole Race at Magny Cours. By virtue of his strong performance in Saturday’s Tissot Superpole session, Rinaldi will head the fourth row for Race 2 later this afternoon.
- Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
- Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
- Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
- Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
- Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
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