The final race of the inaugural Pirelli Navarra Round for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship was a tense and dramatic affair as the top three of the Championship battled it out for honours at the Circuito de Navarra. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) came out on top as he claimed a stunning Race 2 victory and left the round top of the Championship heading into the French Round.
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu got lightning starts from the 22-lap encounter, the race shortened by one lap following a delayed start after the Warm-Up lap had been completed due to an issue with Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) on the grid. Locatelli swept around the outside of Razgatlioglu and Rea at the start while Rea dropped back behind his teammate, Alex Lowes.
Locatelli and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) ran wide in the early stages of the race which forced the pair down the order, allowing Lowes to move up ahead of both of them before Locatelli fought back to run in fourth place; a position he has become very accustomed to over the last couple of rounds.
All three of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Razgatlioglu exchanged positions in the opening laps of the race before it settled down slightly with Razgatlioglu leading the race ahead of Rea and Redding as the lead three in the Championship trio looking to take points out of each other in the Championship battle.
On Lap 17, Rea saved a front-end slide heading into Turn 15 which allowed Redding to close the gap to Rea throughout Lap 18, before the pair went side-by-side into the fast right-hander of Turn 1 on Lap 19. Redding was on the inside, but Rea cut back to keep the position. On the same lap of the race, Redding pulled off an incredible move around the outside of Turn 14 to move into second place after Rea ran wide at Turn 13. It meant Razgatlioglu claimed victory ahead of Redding and Rea with the Turkish star now level with Rea in the Championship on 311 points. Razgatlioglu has 17 podiums in the 2021 campaign which ties him for the record of podiums for a Yamaha rider, level with Ben Spies in 2009.
P1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
“First I say thanks to my team because they did an incredible job this weekend. The second race for me was very important and we tried a different set-up and we came home in a very good position, again winning. I am very happy because, for me, this weekend was not easy but every race I’m on the podium.”
P2 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“It was a good weekend. Happy with that. Two firsts, a pole, a second, that’s how a weekend should be if you want to be a contender in the Championship so I’m happy. I just didn’t have the feeling that I had yesterday, I couldn’t use the bike to its full potential. I was riding a little bit like those guys so I couldn’t maximise the strong point of our bike so then I couldn’t really get past and then I was getting a hot front tyre, sliding a lot. I thought ‘be patient, maybe they’ll come to me a little bit’ and Jonathan made a couple of small mistakes. I felt my rhythm coming. I had a little dig at Toprak at the end, but I was weighing up the risk for reward. That’s a lot to catch in two laps. We settled for second, took the points and look forward to Magny-Cours.”
P3 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“I just didn’t have it in that race. The other guys had a lot better rhythm, especially at the end. I was in trouble for the last ten laps. I could feel with Toprak I was just being there. I was much faster in turns four, five, six and seven, this sector, but he was just better everywhere else. Huge kudos to him and Scott, they had a really good race today. Work to do for us, hopefully we can bounce back in Magny-Cours.”
WorldSBK Circuito de Navarra – Race 2
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +1.105s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +3.715s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +10.758s
5. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +14.437s
6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +15.151s
Championship Standings (after Race 2, Round 7)
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) Yamaha (311 points)
2. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (311 points)
3. Scott Redding (GBR) Ducati (273 points)