Magny-Cours WSBK: Razgatlioglu beats Rea, disaster for Redding
Yamaha rider Toprak Razgatlioglu took a convincing victory in the opening World Superbike race of the weekend at Magny-Cours after an early pass on championship rival Jonathan Rea.
After initially conceding the advantage, Razgatlioglu forced his way back ahead of chief adversary Rea at the Adelaide hairpin on lap four of 21 before pulling away for a seventh race win of the year.
Having gone into the Magny-Cours round level on points with Kawasaki man Rea, Razgatlioglu is now five points ahead in the title race.
Razgatlioglu got the initial jump off the line to lead into Turn 1, but a better run through Estoril and on to the back straight for Rea enabled the six-time world champion to get back ahead through Adelaide.
Slight contact between Alex Lowes and Razgatlioglu temporarily promoted Michael Ruben Rinaldi's Ducati to second, but by the end of the opening lap Razgatlioglu was back ahead.
Rea's time at the head of the field also proved short-lived, as Razgatlioglu steadily caught up and then muscled his way back ahead on the fourth lap at Rea and immediately pulled clear.
In the end, Razgatlioglu took the chequered flag 4.4 seconds ahead of Rea for his third win around Magny-Cours - the track where he took his first-ever WSBK wins two years ago on a Puccetti Kawasaki.
Lowes looked well set for his first podium finish since July's Donington Park round after repassing Rinaldi for second on the second lap, only to crash with five laps to go at the 180 corner.
That promoted Razgatlioglu's Yamaha teammate Andrea Locatelli to third place, the rookie taking his third podium of the season.
Rinaldi was by some distance the best Ducati finisher in fourth in an absolutely torrid race for his teammate Scott Redding, who started eighth and finished in 12th after a late crash.
Redding struggled to make progress early on but dropped down the order by running wide at Adelaide on lap five. While battling outside of the top 10, he crashed with three laps to go at Chateau d'Eau before remounting.
Scoring four points for 12th, Redding is now 59 points down on Razgatlioglu in the championship.
BMW's top finisher was Michael van der Mark in fifth ahead of Honda's Alvaro Bautista and satellite Ducati runners Chaz Davies (Go Eleven) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa), who swapped places at the final corner.
Tom Sykes also dropped down the order in the opening laps on the second factory BMW from third on the grid, coming home down in ninth ahead of Leon Haslam's Honda and Garrett Gerloff on the GRT Yamaha.
MIE Honda rider Leandro Mercado was the only non-finisher besides Lowes after a crash, although Lucas Mahias (Puccetti Kawasaki) didn't start following his crash in Superpole.
|4||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||13.283|
|5||60||Michael van der Mark||BMW||15.535|
|View full results|
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Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu remain defiant about their World Superbike title hopes despite conceding more ground in the championship to a dominant Alvaro Bautista last weekend at Barcelona.