Jerez WSBK: Razgatlioglu beats Kawasaki duo to first 2021 pole
Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu claimed pole position for the Jerez round of the World Superbike Championship, edging out the Kawasakis of Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea in a tightly-contested qualifying.
Razgatlioglu arrived in qualifying with the fastest time of the weekend, set in FP3 this morning, but it was quickly usurped by Andrea Locatelli on the sister Yamaha with a 1m39.368s.
Lowes moved the goalposts further by posting a time of 1m38.730s, with Rea joining him on the provisional front row with a lap that was just 0.005s slower than his teammate.
With five minutes to go, the Kawasaki duo and Ducati’s Michael Ruben Rinaldi were the only riders to break the 1m39s barrier, while Razgatlioglu slipped outside the top 10 with his previous time of 1m40.355s.
A Kawasaki 1-2 on the grid appeared certain when Lowes and Rea managed to find more on their second runs, with the former improving to a 1m38.539s to put himself on provisional pole for the opening race later on Saturday.
However, Razgatlioglu spoiled the party of Kawasaki right at the end of qualifying, setting a blistering time in the final sector to deny Lowes a first pole in WSBK since Assen in 2018.
Although the Turkish rider had trailed Lowes in the opening three sectors, he was able to beat the British rider by 0.027s over the course of the entire lap to secure his second-ever pole position in the championship.
Rea, who enjoyed an unbeaten run in qualifying in the opening eight rounds of the season, ended up third on the grid with a time of 1m38.661s - just over a tenth down on his title rival Razgatlioglu.
Scott Redding qualified fourth in the best of the Ducatis, a further 0.047s off the ultimate pace, with teammate Rinaldi and Yamaha’s Locatelli joining him on the second row.
Making his return to WSBK in place of the injured Chaz Davies, ex-MotoGP racer Loris Baz was the top independent rider in seventh on the Go Eleven Ducati, beating the factory Hondas of Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista with a time of 1m39.747s.
The top 10 was rounded out by Garrett Gerloff on the GRT Yamaha.
The BMW marque had a low-key outing in qualifying, with Michael van der Mark the best of the runners in 13th on the factory bike.
He was closely followed by Jonas Folger, riding for the satellite Bonovo MGM team, and Eugene Laverty - who is deputising for Tom Sykes following his crash in the Barcelona race last week.
Ahead of qualifying, it was announced that Puccetti Kawasaki rider Lucas Mahias will sit out the rest of the season after a crash in Assen in July left him with a broken left scaphoid.
Although Mahias has contested every WSBK round since then and even took part in Jerez practice on Friday, the Frenchman has decided to skip the final three rounds of the season to fully recover from injuries.
Puccetti will announce a replacement for Mahias in due course.
|5||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||1'38.860||0.348|
|13||60||Michael van der Mark||BMW||1'40.092||1.580|
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