Donington WSBK: Razgatlioglu dominates, Bautista crashes out
Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu took a commanding victory in the opening World Superbike race at Donington Park, as a crash for Alvaro Bautista blew the championship wide open.
Lining up third on the grid, Razgatlioglu made a characteristically quick start to jump Kawasaki duo Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea to move into the lead under braking for Turn 1.
For much of the opening lap of the 23-lap contest, Razgatlioglu faced a stiff challenge from polesitter Rea, who was eager to make amends for his relatively poor start and find a way past the Turkish rider.
Rea tried to go around the outside of Razgatlioglu into the Fogarty Esses but lost momentum, slipping behind both teammate Lowes and Bautista’s Ducati in the process.
Rea would later get embroiled in a long battle with Bautista until his crash with nine laps to run, allowing Razgatlioglu to claim only his second victory of the season and reignite his bid for consecutive titles.
Rea had to settle for second spot on his home turf after leading the long runs in practice, the Ulsterman losing heaps of time to Razgatlioglu while battling with Bautista for second position after repassing both Honda’s Iker Lecuona and teammate Lowes on lap 2.
Rea made several unsuccessful attempts at overtaking the championship leader and even had to save himself from falling off the bike at the exit of the chicane, before a block pass on lap 7 at the final corner allowed him to move up to second.
A mistake at the same turn a few laps later did allow Bautista to briefly regain position, but Rea was back up to second when the championship leader suffered a rare crash on the very same Goddards left-hander and retired from the race.
The incident allowed Rea to cruise to second position, albeit over 6s down on Razgatlioglu, and significantly home in on Bautista’s points advantage in the riders’ standings.
Third place in the race went to Lowes, who repassed the upgraded BMW of Scott Redding to clinch his first podium finish since last year’s Superpole race at Magny-Cours.
Redding dropped to seventh on the opening lap but was able to take full advantage of a new swingarm on his BMW M1000RR to secure his best result of the season, missing out on a podium by just over two seconds.
Axel Bassani finished as the top independent rider in fifth on the Motocorsa Ducati, beating the sole remaining factory Panigale V4 R of Michael Ruben Rinaldi and the GRT Yamaha of Garrett Gerloff.
Lecuona briefly moved up to fourth place ahead of Rea on the opening lap but his Honda didn’t have the pace to stay near the front, the Spanish rookie eventually finishing eighth ahead of the Bonovo MGM BMW of Loris Baz.
Andrea Locatelli had a low-key outing en route to 10th, nearly half a minute-down on his race-winning teammate and over 10 seconds behind the satellite Yamaha of Gerloff.
He finished six seconds and four places ahead of reigning British Superbike champion Tarran Mackenzie and his McAMS-run wildcard Yamaha R1, who in turn beat fellow BSB champion Leon Haslam on the Pedercini Kawasaki.
Donington Park WSBK - Race 1 results:
|6||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||23||14.482|
|View full results|
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