The 2021 WorldSBK title race could be over this weekend and Toprak Razgatlioglu certainly got off to a flyer whilst his main title rival faltered
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s penultimate round saw an action-packed first day of the Motul Argentinean Round from the Circuito San Juan Villicum.
The venue, which returns to the calendar after a year out in 2020, saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) dominate day one ahead of Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), whilst title rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) crashed hard at Turn 6 with around 30 minutes to go, missing the remainder of the session.
It was a good afternoon for Toprak Razgatlioglu, who picked up where he left off in FP1 with the Turkish rider coming out on top once again. Razgatlioglu was almost immediately quicker than he’d gone in the morning and was right on the pace.
The Turkish rider set an electric pace throughout his final race run, improving on almost every lap before dipped into the 1’37s bracket in the closing five minutes. A 1’37.872 saw Razgatlioglu maintain his advantage and is definitely the rider to beat ahead of the rest of the weekend.
Teammate Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) continued to adapt to San Juan and the Yamaha YZF-R1. On the fringes of the top ten for the majority of the afternoon, Locatelli eventually finished in eighth as he improved in the closing stages, having been tenth in the morning session.
As the temperature came up, it was a strong showing from Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who was inside the top four for most of FP2 whilst teammate Scott Redding was also in the mix in fifth.
Both Ducatis were right in pursuit as they took to the track and continued to improve their lap times, heading out in the final ten minutes of the session where Redding improved, as did Rinaldi. Redding went second with less than a minute to go whilst Rinaldi maintain his fourth position.
Top Independent honours also went to Ducati with Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) was up in sixth, ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), who was mightily impressive in seventh on his first visit to San Juan.
Over at Kawasaki, it was a Friday afternoon disaster for Jonathan Rea as he crashed hard at Turn 6. He and the bike tumbled through the gravel, with the ZX-10RR badly damaged, whilst thankfully the defending six-time World Champion was able to walk away and get a ride back to the paddock on a scooter.
Teammate Alex Lowes was having a strong return to action and was second for the majority of the session having been fourth in FP1. Come the end of the session, with Rea unable to improve due the damaged bike, he finished in fifth whilst Lowes was third. Both will look to take the challenge to Razgatlioglu and Redding across the weekend.
WorldSBK Combined Results after FP2
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 1’37.872s
2. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.246s
3. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.548s
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.561s
5. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.629s
6. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) +0.942s