WorldSBK Race Reports: All The Action At Magny-Cours, France

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Race One at Magny-Cours was a crazy one! Two of the three Championship contenders crashed out as Alvaro Bautista took his first win in France. Race Two saw Toprak Razgatlioglu back on track to defend his championship lead, yet it was a woeful weekend for multiple WSBK champ, Jonathan Rea. 

Race One
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship raced at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours with a dramatic fight during the Pirelli French Round as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) took a stunning victory while his Championship rivals faltered in the early stages of the race. Both Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) crashed out in the early stages as the Spanish rider extended his Championship lead by 25 points.

Laps 2 and 3 were dramatic for the race as firstly Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) went down on the exit of Turn 17 on Lap 2, with the British rider able to re-join the race. He brought his ZX-10RR machine into the pits but did re-join following this. A lap later, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) went down at Turn 13. The reigning Champion had a huge moment under braking and was able to save it but had to come off the bike at slow speed to not run into the barrier, with Razgatlioglu able to continue. Razgatlioglu was able to battle back to finishing in 11th place while Rea’s trip through the pit lane put him a lap down. Razgatlioglu’s crash ends a streak of eight consecutive podiums for the reigning Champion, while Rea’s extends a winless run to 10 races; his worst since 2019 when he went 11 races without a win.

This allowed Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) to battle it out for the lead of the race, with Bautista taking the lead of the race on Lap 7 of 21 on the approach to the Nurburgring chicane. Although Redding was able to stay with him, he was unable to re-pass the Championship leader. Bautista went on to claim his first win at Magny-Cours and extend his Championship lead to over 50 points once again in 2022 with Redding in second, his best result with BMW. Bautista took his 24th win, putting him level with 2011 Champion Carlos Checa and 2021 Champion Razgatlioglu while Redding took his 40th podium, putting him level with Doug Polen and Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team).

Third place went to Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) as he benefitted from Rea, Razgatlioglu and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) going down, with Baz crashing at Turn 13 but re-joining. He did have a battle with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with Rinaldi barging his way through on Lap 12, but when he went through the gravel on the exit of Turn 1 and through Turn 2 on Lap 14, Bassani was able to take third place and claim his second WorldSBK podium.

It had looked like Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) would challenge for a podium but as the race progressed, with Gerloff running Pirelli’s new development soft front tyre, he dropped back with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) claiming fourth spot ahead of Gerloff in fifth. Rinaldi was able to respond to his trip through the gravel, battling back from the lower end of the points-scoring places to take sixth place.

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) took advantage of both Team HRC machines losing pace in the closing stages of the race to finish in seventh place, with Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) in eighth place. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC), one of a handful of riders to use Pirelli’s new soft front tyre, finished in ninth having been inside the top ten, with French rider Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) rounding out the top ten.

Razgatlioglu finishing in 11th place and only three seconds away from a top ten spot despite losing around 25 seconds following his crash, after a battle with former teammate Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team). The Dutchman scored points on his return from injury as he took home 12th place after the pair took advantage of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) running wide at Turn 5 in the closing stages. Vierge finished in 13th place ahead of Baz in 14th and Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) in 15th with the Sammarinese rider taking home the last point from Race 1.

Despite numerous incidents throughout the race, all 24 riders who started finished Race 1. Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) was 16th and just 2.5 seconds away from a point, although he did have to fend off Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in 17th; the pair were separated by just a tenth at the end of the race. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) was 18th with Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) 19th and Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) completing the top 20. Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team), Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura). Oscar Gutierrez (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and Rea were the final four riders in the classification.


WorldSBK Magny-Cours Race One Podium (Full Results Here)

1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2 Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +4.079s
3 Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +6.751s


Tissot Superpole Race
Racing action in the MOTIL FIM Superbike World Championship resumed on Sunday at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as reigning Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) took a hard-fought victory during the Pirelli French Round’s Tissot Superpole Race. Razgatlioglu had a poor start but was able to battle back to take victory by almost two seconds at the end of the race.

Razgatlioglu got a poor start after a wheeling off the line when the lights went out and dropped down to fourth place, but was soon able to battle back as he passed Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad Team) for third, before overtaking Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on Lap 4 at the 180 Degree corner. On Lap 6, he passed race leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) at Turn 13 to take the lead and from there he extended his gap to almost two seconds after 10 laps. Bautista was able to keep the pressure on with the pair making contact on the penultimate lap, damaging part of Bautista’s fairing with the Championship leader removing the wing on the short stretch of track that followed.

Bautista claimed second spot after a last-lap fight with Rea, with Rea making a move at Turn 13 and Turn 15, but Bautista cutting underneath the six-time Champion into the chicane to hold on to second place with Rea in third. It means Razgatlioglu claimed his 25th win and 70th podium, while Bautista took his 45th, putting him level with Leon Haslam and Stephane Mertens. Rea claimed his 231st career podium but now finds his winless streak at 11 races, his longest since 2019.

Row two for Race 2 will feature Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) after the two British riders had a race-long fight over fourth place, with Lowes coming out on top to take fourth for Race 2 and Redding starting from fifth. Race 1 podium finisher Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) will complete the second row after taking sixth place in the Superpole Race.

Bassani and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) once again battled on track, with Bassani able to come out on top. Rinaldi claimed seventh spot for the Race 2 starting grid with American Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claiming eighth and Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) taking ninth spot.


WorldSBK Magny-Cours Tissot Superpole Race Podium (Full Results Here)

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +1.891s
3 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +2.040s


Race Two
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign has had more surprises during Race 2 at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for the Pirelli French Round, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) claiming victory after a battle with both Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), while drama hit two of the Championship contenders once again.

Like in Race 1 on Saturday, drama was never far away throughout the 21-lap race and it started on Lap 2 at Turn 13, when Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) made contact with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati); the Ducati rider going through the gravel and retiring from the race. Rea was deemed to be at fault for the clash and was given a Long Lap Penalty which he served on Lap 7, re-joining the race in seventh after losing a few positions.

The collision allowed Razgatlioglu and Bassani to move ahead and on Lap 3, Bassani made a move for the lead at Turn 11 and he remained there until Lap 8, when Rinaldi made an incredible double move into Turn 11 to move into first, with Bassani dropping down to third place. Rinaldi tried to pull away from Razgatlioglu at the front of the field but, at Turn 5 on Lap 14, the reigning Champion made his move for the lead. After that, Razgatlioglu was able to drop Rinaldi to win by more than one second, with Bassani in third place.

It means Razgatlioglu’s gap in the Championship to Bautista is now just 30 points after taking his 71st podium, putting him level with Max Biaggi, as well as his 26th win. Rinaldi moves on to 13 WorldSBK podiums in his career while Bassani takes his third of his career and second of the French Round; the first time he has taken more than one podium in a single round.

Bassani claimed third place but he had to resist a late charge from Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with the British rider taking his second fourth place finish of the French Round. Lowes was six seconds clear of teammate Rea, with the six-time Champion only able to make up a couple of places to finish fifth; Rea trails Bautista by 47 points in the Championship. One rider Rea was able to pass was Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), when Rea took advantage of Redding running wide at the 180 Degree corner to move up to fifth. Rea’s winless streak now spans 12 races, his longest since a run of 33 without a win in 2012 and 2013.

Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) took seventh place after a late-race battle with Yamaha stablemate Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), with just 0.255s separating the pair at the end of the race. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) finished ninth on home soil, ahead of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) who rounded out the top ten, 1.5 seconds back from Baz but more than seven seconds clear of Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) in 11th.

Oettl had a bit of a lonely race in the closing stages of the race, finishing seven seconds back from Lecuona but eight seconds clear of Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), with Mahias claiming points at his home round. Sammarinese rider Luca Bernardi (BARNI Spark Racing Team) was 13th ahead of Robert Tamburini (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) in 14th place. Japanese rider Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed the final point as he finished in 15th place.

French rider Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) was 16th at the end of his home round, finishing eight seconds back from Nozane and three seconds clear of debutant Oscar Gutierrez (TPR Team Pedercini Racing), with the Spanish rider missing out on points in Race 2 by ten seconds. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP) was 18th with Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 19th, with Syahrin having a crash at Turn 13 on Lap 15, he rejoined.

Alongside Bautista as a retirement, Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) after a technical problem in the early stages of the race, while Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) crashed out at Turn 15 on Lap 3. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) crashed out of the race at Turn 3 on Lap 10. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) was the final retirement.


WorldSBK Magny-Cours Race Two Podium (Full Results Here)

1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +2.024s
3 Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +4.742s


Championship Standings After French Round (Full Standings Here)

1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 332 points
2 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 302
3 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 285


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