WorldSBK Indonesia: Razgatlioglu commands race one

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Toprak Razgatlioglu claimed his 12th WorldSBK victory of 2022 with a commanding four-second lead in Saturday’s race at Mandalika.

Aruba.it Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista and Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea completed the podium celebrations, despite the Northern Irishman’s third place finish ruling him out of the title challenge for the remainder of the season.

The 900th Superbike race of the championship lined up at Lombok’s Mandalika Circuit with lap record holder Razgatlioglu heading the grid with teammate Andrea Locatelli alongside in third. Rea split the Pata Yamaha duo on the front row with his own teammate Alex Lowes narrowly behind in fourth while championship leader Bautista prepared from fifth.

Lights out for 21 laps in 36℃ heat - with the track rising to just under 60 degrees - and it was Razgatlioglu who took the holeshot from Locatelli with Bautista quickly through to third. Lowes trailing teammate Rea for fifth before he ran wide at the second corner, dropping back to ninth.

Axel Bassani capitalised on the Brit’s misfortune as the Motocorsa progressed to fifth, Rea through on the Aruba Ducati for third moments later with Honda’s Xavi Vierge and BMW’s Michael van der Mark battling for sixth on lap two.

Rea was up to second as the second lap unfolded, Scott Redding dropping to the back of the pack alongside fellow BMW rider Eugene Laverty with Kyle Smith splitting the pair on the Pedercini Kawasaki.

Bautista advanced to third as the race bedded in. Locatelli holding a 1.5s advantage over the battling duo of Bassani and van der Mark, Vierge likewise defending from Lowes as Aruba’s Michael Rinaldi and GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff rounded out the top ten after five laps on track.

Razgatlioglu set a 1’32.886 race lap record as his dominance out front continued. Rea a full second behind as the podium sitters spread out. Lowes through on Vierge for seventh with six laps dispatched.

Van der Mark’s progression continued as he captured fifth next time around before the run was cut short with a mistake at the final corner, dropping him to tenth. Lowes taking charge of the second group, from Bassani, Vierge and Rinaldi as Gerloff came under pressure from the regrouping Dutchman.

Bautista was on the wheels of the Kawasaki as the battle for second ignited. The Ducati quickly dispatching his long-term rival with 13 laps to go as Lowes lost out to both Bassani and Vierge in quick succession.

Rinaldi was the next to capitalise on the fading Englishman with Lowes’ former teammate the next looking to advance. Philipp Oettl crashing the GoEleven Panigale out with a fast highside at the halfway stage. A technical issue for Tati Mercado forcing the MIE Honda to retire with ten laps to go.

Van der Mark scalped Lowes as the action continued. Bassani suffering a major moment as he dropped the Motocorsa behind the pair to ninth. Razgatlioglu likewise recovering from an off line excursion with his advantage cut to a mere second and a half.

Two-thirds of the race dispatched and Locatelli trailed the podium by over six seconds. Rinaldi hard on his fellow Italian’s wheels before the Ducati stormed past with Lowes recovering to seventh on the BMW. Gerloff quickly followed the Brit as van der Mark returned to ninth, Bassani almost two seconds behind with a further eight to the Barni Ducati of Xavi Fores in eleventh.

Rinaldi ran wide with four laps to go as Locatelli returned to best of the rest. Lowes honing in on the Honda ahead with three tenths splitting him from sixth position. Van der Mark’s rollercoaster day coming to an early end at turn 16.

Late race pace found Gerloff continue his climb as he dispatched Lowes for seventh with Vierge the next in his sights. Lowes briefly disrupting his challenge with one of his own before Bassani arrived on the distracted pair to send the brit back to ninth.

Razgatlioglu met the flag with a four second lead on Bautista as the race concluded. Rea a further seven behind as Locatelli headed Rinaldi and Vierge in the top six. Gerloff, Bassani, Lowes and Loris Baz completed seventh to tenth while Fores, Redding, MIE Honda’s Hafizh Syahrin, Laverty and GRT’s Kohta Nozane claimed the final points with Oliver Konig the last of the finishers on the Orelac Kawasaki.

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