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.

Donington WSBK: Razgatlioglu dominates, Bautista crashes out
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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:

Cla # Rider Bike Laps Gap
1 1 Turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu Yamaha 23  
2 65 United Kingdom Jonathan Rea Kawasaki 23 6.397
3 22 United Kingdom Alex Lowes Kawasaki 23 9.499
4 45 United Kingdom Scott Redding BMW 23 11.515
5 47 Italy Axel Bassani Ducati 23 12.820
6 21 Italy Michael Ruben Rinaldi Ducati 23 14.482
7 31 United States Garrett Gerloff Yamaha 23 17.127
8 7 Spain Iker Lecuona Honda 23 17.438
9 76 France Loris Baz BMW 23 24.903
10 55 Italy Andrea Locatelli Yamaha 23 28.498
11 5 Germany Philipp Oettli Ducati 23 31.467
12 44 France Lucas Mahias Kawasaki 23 33.514
13 97 Spain Xavi Vierge Honda 23 33.647
14 95 United Kingdom Tarran Mackenzie Yamaha 23 34.870
15 91 United Kingdom Leon Haslam Kawasaki 23 44.961
16 37 Ukraine Illia Mykhalchyk BMW 23 45.205
17 35 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin Honda 23 52.808
18 29 San Marino Luca Bernardi Ducati 23 53.315
19 3 Japan Kohta Nozane Yamaha 23 54.779
20 50 Ireland Eugene Laverty BMW 23 55.987
21 2 Italy Roberto Tamburini Yamaha 23 56.072
22 10 United Kingdom Peter Hickman BMW 23 1'00.554
23 52 Czech Republic Oliver Konig Kawasaki 23 1'07.239
  19 Spain Alvaro Bautista Ducati 16  
  23 France Christophe Ponsson Yamaha 13  
  36 Argentina Leandro Mercado Honda 6  
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Bautista: "Small mistake" led to race-ending Donington crash

Bautista: "Small mistake" led to race-ending Donington crash