Barcelona WSBK: Rea beats Razgatlioglu in dramatic Superpole race
Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea fended off World Superbike title rival Toprak Razgatlioglu in a dramatic Superpole race in Barcelona, which was red-flagged following a collision between Chaz Davies and Lucas Mahias.
For the second race in succession, polesitter Tom Sykes bogged down off the line on the factory BMW, bringing the three championship protagonists into play.
Out of the trio it was Yamaha’s Razgatlioglu who led the field into Turn 1, with Scott Redding and Rea following him close behind in second and third respectively.
Rea quickly dispatched Redding’s Ducati for second and then set about chasing Razgatlioglu, diving down the inside of the Yamaha rider into Turn 1 at the start of Lap 2.
But the six-time champion ran slightly wide into the corner, allowing Razgatlioglu to run side-by-side him into Turn 2 before he retook the lead into the following right-hander.
The battle between the two was halted when the race was red-flagged for a major crash involving Mahias and Davies at Turn 11, with the Go Eleven rider having to be taken to medical centre on a stretcher for mandatory check-ups.
A five-lap sprint race followed, with the starting grid based upon the order in which they were running at the end of the last completed lap.
Rea was on the move at the restart, his Kawasaki brushing the Yamaha of Razgatlioglu as they both made rapid getaways. There was more contact at the exit of Turn 1, with Rea hitting the second Ducati of Michael Ruben Rinaldi and forcing him wide off the track.
Razgatlioglu then ran wide into Turn 3, allowing Rea to come through and take the lead. Razgatlioglu fought back and the two riders ran side-by-side into Turns 6 and 7, but the Kawasaki ace somehow held on to the lead as his Yamaha rival briefly slipped behind the charging Honda of Alvaro Bautista.
Behind the leading trio, Andrea Locatelli clipped the other Kawasaki of Alex Lowes into the long Turn 10 left-hander, falling off his bike and taking Yamaha stablemate Kohta Nozane out of the race as well.
Ducati’s Redding was also unfortunate to be running right behind the trio and had to take evasive action, dropping to the rear of the field.
Back at the front, Rea took advantage of the chaos that ensued behind him to build a comfortable 0.5s buffer for him.
Razgatlioglu managed to repass Bautista for second and cut the gap to the race leader with the fastest lap on the penultimate tour, but wasn’t close enough to pull off a last-lap move on the Ulsterman.
Rea eventually held on to victory by 0.2s and claim pole position for the final race of the weekend, while Bautista finished third behind Razgatlioglu to secure Honda’s first podium finish of the season.
Lowes was classified fifth ahead of Rinaldi and Saturday’s star Axel Bassani on the Motocorsa Ducati, with Leon Haslam (Honda), Garrett Gerloff on the sole surviving GRT Yamaha, Christophe Ponsson (Gil Yamaha) and Leandro Mercado (MIE Honda) completing the top 10.
Redding finished down in 15th place after being caught out in the collision between Locatelli and Nozane, taking another hit to his already distant title hopes.
Neither of the BMWs finished the race after Michael van der Mark took out his teammate Sykes on the opening lap.
|5||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||5||3.428|
|View full results|
Redding says he was 'either finishing first or in the gravel'
Barcelona WSBK: Rinaldi wins, Razgatlioglu retakes points lead