The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s tenth round of the season at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto saw Toprak Razgatlioglu claim pole for Sunday racing at the MOTUL Spanish round following a sad day after the passing of Dean Berta Viñales.
After the sad passing of Dean Berta Viñales following an accident in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship’s race one on Saturday, all Saturday track activity was cancelled. Sunday featured all of the WorldSBK races at Jerez. Having been knocked off his pole position perch last time out at Catalunya, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was eager to get back to the head of the field. However, it wouldn’t happen as Turkish delight was on order; Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) took a first pole of the year and a second of his career, as he powered to the head of the field. Razgatlioglu has not taken a pole since Estoril 2020.
With the WorldSBK field taking to the track under the beautiful Jerez sunshine, the first laps came in with some riders going straight to the Q tyre for their first attack on pole. Both title contenders Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea on the Q tyres, as well as Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), who shadowed teammate Toprak on the first run.
However, it was formation flying as Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who is far from 100% fit as he nurses a right-hand injury, hit the front ahead of teammate Rea, both on the Q tyre, ahead of Locatelli, following the first flurry of action, both being the first riders into the sub-39 brackets with 1’38.7s, separated by just 0.005s. After the first run, Razgatlioglu was only tenth whilst there were surprises in the top ten, with Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in seventh and eighth, both just behind an in-form Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC), who was fifth having not used the Q tyre straight away, whilst Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was also impressive, in and around the top ten.
Leaving it later to go out on track for a first run, Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was already up inside the top three, popping up to third after his first flying lap. Soon, he would be bumped back by teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who set his first flying lap on the Q tyre after initially going out on race tyre rubber; Rinaldi went third and was, like the two Kawasaki ahead of him, in the 1’38s bracket. With further changes down the order, Razgatlioglu was down in 13th.
The final two minutes set the grid as Alex Lowes improved further, dropping the time down to a 1’38.539, just two tenths outside of Jonathan Rea’s 2019 pole record. However, after being more than two tenths of a second down after three sectors, Toprak Razgatlioglu pulled out the final sector of his life, blasting to the line and storming to his first pole position of the season by just 0.027s. More than a tenth of a second faster in the final sector than his rivals, Razgatlioglu was on fire to deliver Yamaha’s first pole of 2021, beating Lowes who starts second, whilst Jonathan Rea couldn’t take it to the two ahead of him and for a second round running, finishes third. The pole for Yamaha is the 40th in their WorldSBK history, the first since Estoril in 2020, also by Razgatlioglu.
Fourth place went to the first Ducati rider, Scott Redding, who was able to hold off a late charge from teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi, with the Italian completing the top five. Rinaldi has looked like he’s been fast with race pace too, so a top five starting position could well see him come to the fore in the race. Andrea Locatelli completes the second row, more than half a second from his teammate’s time.
Heading up the third row of the grid in seventh place is super-sub Loris Baz (Team GoEleven), who was top Independent at the end of Superpole. The Frenchman gave Team GoEleven a return to the top ten, whilst in the middle of the third row, Leon Haslam (Team HRC) took top Honda honours, ahead of his in-form teammate Alvaro Bautista, who takes a first top nine since Misano, which is encouraging given his ability to charge through the field and pull a result out. Completing the top ten, Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) held off a late challenge from a sensational Leandro Mercado, who takes his best Superpole result since Losail 2019.
Other riders further down the order included Axel Bassani who was 12th whilst it was another tricky Superpole session for BMW, with Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) heading up an all-BMW top five, with substitute teammate Eugene Laverty in 15th, both split by Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing). Isaac Viñales ended up 16th ahead of Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), whilst Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) was 18th. Marvin Fritz (IXS-YART Yamaha) was 19th, ahead of Andrea Mantovani (Vince64), Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport Yamaha), Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and teammate Lachlan Epis.
Jerez Tissot Superpole Podium (Full Results Here)
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 1’38.512s
2 Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.027s
3 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.102s
A fierce battle for race one of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) claiming a hard-fought victory against Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in the Spanish round after a difference in tyre strategies between the pair.
Razgatlioglu got the jump at the start to maintain his lead from pole position but soon found himself having to fend off the challenge from Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on the opening lap, first at turn six before Rea made the move for the lead at turn eight with both riders on different rear tyres; Razgatlioglu on the SCX development solution and Rea on the SC0 development.
On the opening lap, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) went deep into turn six and lost places to both Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and teammate Scott Redding, while Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) also went wide. On lap five, Rinaldi crashed out of the race. Out in front, Rea was leading from Razgatlioglu but unable to pull out a gap as the Turkish rider consistently kept within half-a-second of Rea before closing the gap to around two tenths.
On lap seven, Razgatlioglu attempted to outbrake Rea into the turn six hairpin with the pair making contact and running wide, allowing Locatelli and Redding to close the gap even further although both riders were able to continue and keep their positions. The leading pair pulled away as Razgatlioglu set his sights on Rea once again. On lap 14, Razgatlioglu made a move for the lead with a late braking move into turn one to take the lead, before Rea tried to respond with the Turk holding on. Razgatlioglu was able to hold on for the final few laps of the 20-lap race to claim his first victory in Jerez.
As the closing stages of the 20-lap race approached, Redding started closing in on Locatelli in the battle with the fight raging on to the final lap of the race, Redding making a move into turn five with Locatelli unable to respond into the turn six left-hand hairpin to claim third place ahead of Locatelli.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) claimed another top five finish for Honda after a strong result for the Spanish rider, although he was five seconds down on Locatelli. Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) was sixth after an impressive return for the Frenchman, with Baz replacing the recovery Chaz Davies in Jerez, claiming the top Independent rider spot in Race 1. Baz had a battle with Dutch rider Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) for sixth place, with van der Mark finishing seventh.
In the closing stages, van der Mark had to withstand pressure from rookie Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) with the Italian rider looking to make moves on the final lap. Lowes ended the race in ninth place after a battling race as he nursed his injured wrist, taking home a top ten finish despite the injury. American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed tenth place after starting from the same position.
Leon Haslam (Team HRC) fell back during the race and ended up 11th, losing a position in the top ten late on in the race to Gerloff. Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) took points from his first start since the UK Round at Donington Park with 12th place, as he stands in for Tom Sykes. Laverty had a battle throughout the race with Japanese rookie Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) with experience paying dividends.
German rider Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) claimed points with 14th place, less than a second clear of Frenchman Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) who took 15th. Marvin Fritz (IXS-YART Yamaha) missed out on points on his slightly modified endurance-specification Yamaha R1 with 16th place, ahead of Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and wildcard Andrea Mantovani (Vince64) who rounded out the riders on the lead lap.
Samuele Cavalieri’s (Barni Racing Team) crashed out on lap five, while Lachlan Epis (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) brought his Kawasaki ZX-10RR machine into the pits in the first half of the race, although he did return to the track after a few minutes in the box. Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) had a technical issue in the final third of the race, forcing the Argentinean rider out of the race, eventually classified four laps down. Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) opted to not take part in Sunday’s action following Saturday’s tragic events in WorldSSP300.
Jerez Race One Podium (Full Results Here)
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.225s
3 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +2.791s
A familiar story to race one, with the same outcome but a different opponent for Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) as he claimed his second MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship victory of the day at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the Motul Spanish Round after a late-race battle with Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
Repeating his start from race tone, Razgatlioglu got a good start to lead into turn one from Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and, while Rea was able to challenge into turn six on the opener, the Turkish star was away and found himself with Ducatis in pursuit. While Razgatlioglu was able to hold his lead, both Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), and Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) were closing in. On lap six, Rinaldi ran wide at turn six which almost allowed Redding through, but Rinaldi was able to hold on to second place until turn 13, when Redding made the move for second.
While Redding was putting pressure on, Razgatlioglu held on until lap 17 when Redding passed Razgatlioglu for the lead but just one lap later Razgatlioglu responded, making a move at turn 13 to take control. Redding kept the pressure on Razgatlioglu throughout the final two laps, but the Turkish star held on to claim his second victory of the day in Jerez, and his tenth of the season while Redding claimed his 30th WorldSBK podium.
With Razgatlioglu, Redding and Rinaldi in front, Rea found himself losing ground and having to defend from Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) to defend fourth place. On lap 7, Locatelli passed Rea at the final corner to move into fourth place.
Just a lap later, Bautista passed Rea while Italian rookie Bassani tried to follow him through but made contact with Rea, with both able to resume the race without losing time or positions. While Bautista was able to pull away, Bassani kept the pressure on Rea as he looked to pass the six-time champion. Eventually Rea was able to pull away from Bassani and soon found himself back into fifth place after passing Rinaldi.
Bautista was able to make a move on Locatelli for third after passing Rinaldi as he claimed his second podium in four races and his fourth consecutive top-five finish, the first time he has managed that feat since joining Honda. Locatelli came home in fourth place, a very familiar position for the Italian rookie, over a second clear of Rea. With Razgatlioglu taking victory and Rea finishing fifth, the championship lead now stands at 20 points in Razgatlioglu’s favour.
The top six were clear of Rinaldi at the end of the race with Bassani claiming sixth place as the Italian continues his strong rookie season, finishing ahead of the factory Ducati of Rinaldi. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finished in eighth place and closed in on Rinaldi in the closing stages with just a second behind Rinaldi.
Loris Baz’s (Team GoEleven) WorldSBK continued with another top-nine finish as the Frenchman finished in ninth place, just two tenths away from van der Mark. American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed another tenth place finish ahead of Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) claimed 11th place in his first round back for three months, holding off Leon Haslam (Team HRC) by just 0.042s at the end.
Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) finished in 13th place, half-a-second back from Haslam. Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) claimed more points following his return to the Barni Racing outfit while Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) claimed the final points place despite a crash on the second lap.
Wildcard Marvin Fritz (IXS-YART Yamaha) was in 16th place after his second wildcard appearance of the season despite a crash on lap 7 while Andrea Mantovani (Vince64) was in 17th place rounded out the riders on the lead lap. Like in Race 1, Lachlan Epis (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) finished three laps down after spending a substantial amount of time in the pits.
Jerez Race Two Podium (Full Results Here)
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
3 Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC)
Championship Point Score After Jerez RD10 (Full Standings Here)
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 449
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 429
3 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 375