WorldSBK Most: Razgatlioglu celebrates Sunday double

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu secured a perfect Sunday with victory from pole in the final WorldSBK race at Autodrom Most.

Championship leader Alvaro Bautista maintained his control of the standings with second position on the Aruba.it Ducati over Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea with BMW’s Scott Redding continuing his building fortunes in fourth.

WorldSBK race two prepared without both Alex Lowes and Eugene Laverty as the Kawasaki rider succumbed to his ailing health woes and the Bonovo rider was declared unfit due to ‘functional impairment of his right arm’.

Razgatlioglu returned to head the grid after his Superpole victory with title-rivals Rea and Bautista alongside on the front row. BMW’s race one podium-sitter Redding lining up from the middle of row three, in eighth.

The reigning champion held the holeshot as Bautista shot to second. Rea demoted to fifth and directly into a battle with the BMW before gaining on the second Aruba of Michael Rinaldi for fourth. Motocorsa’s Axel Bassani on the edge of the podium before both the Italian and Northern Irishman advanced to dispatch him back to fifth.

Razgatlioglu held more than a half-second lead by the second lap with a pair of Ducatis aiming to reel him in. The Turkish rider responding with the fastest lap of the race so far as Rea returned to podium contention and his sights on Bautista ahead. Rinaldi and Redding remaining in check as the top five riders were covered by just over a second.

Rinaldi slid out of a move on Rea at the opening corner as lap four fired up. Bassani now six tenths back from the podium places with Redding over two seconds clear of Yamaha’s Andrea Locatelli in sixth.

Bautista took a look at the leader as the battle intensified out front. Honda’s Iker Lecuona heading GRT’s Garrett Gerloff, Xavi Vierge and Bonovo’s Loris Baz in the top ten before the Frenchman crashed out at the close of lap five.

Bautista took a gamble at the close of the home straight before running on at turn one and losing a position to Rea. Redding doing a similar move as he returned to the track in fourth.

Rea was in charge next time around as he bettered Razgatlioglu at turn one. The pair battling hard as Bautista looked to reduce the one-second deficit and Redding began to take a look at Bassani, having had to give the position back to the Italian after the earlier shortcut.
Positions changed once again as the R1 took charge. The Spaniard utilising the distracted pair to bridge the gap with the trio running less than half a second apart with 14 laps still to run.

Redding was up to fourth after a continuing fight with Bassani. Two seconds the gap to the title challengers ahead as Bautista returned to the front down the straight with all three inseparable as the next lap played out. Rea quickly making his move to command proceeding at the halfway stage.

The leading pair continued to bicker as Razgatlioglu held back slightly to watch the show. Looking for the perfect opportunity to capitalise as contact threatened at almost every turn. The Ducati through again as it powered down the straight and pulling a two-tenth gap by the second sector.

Eight to go and the leading battle had far from faded. Razgatlioglu through to second with a decisive move on the Kawasaki at his usual turn one, the pair continuing to challenge each other as the next laps unfolded with Bautista unable to check out ahead.

Razgatlioglu flickered to the front before the Panigale struck back. The R1 returning the shot seconds later to take command with six to go. The daunting power of the Ducati down the straight clear to see but the defending champion dominant on the brakes once again.

Four to go, a fastest lap of the race under his belt and Razgatlioglu looked to have broken the pursuing pair behind. Eight-tenths now the advantage as Rea began to take a look at Bautista. Redding five seconds off the fight with a further two to Bassani in fifth and the remaining top ten riders running solitary races with around two seconds apiece between them all.

One lap later and the Pata rider held a strong one-second lead, continuing to set the pace with another fastest lap in the closing stages. Lecuona retiring from the race with a technical issue to deny his continuing clean sweep of top ten finishes in his rookie season.

The chequered flag flying found Razgatlioglu victorious from Bautista and Rea. Redding coming home best of the rest from Bassani and Locatelli with the remaining Honda of Vierge, Philipp Oettl, Lucas Mahias and Luca Bernardi completing the top ten. Gerloff unlucky with his own technical issues on the final lap as he dropped to out of the points completely. Roberto Tamburini, Hafizh Syahrin and Kohta Nozane sitting 11th to 13th as Peter Hickman completed his second wildcard showing with two points ahead of Tati Mercado. Home hero Oliver Konig narrowly missing out in 16th ahead of Pedercini’s Ryan Vickers and the disappointed Gerloff.

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