Portimao WSBK: Razgatlioglu wins thriller, huge crash for Rea
Toprak Razgatlioglu came away with victory in a thrilling opening World Superbike race of the weekend at Portimao ahead of Scott Redding, as Jonathan Rea suffered a huge crash.
Yamaha rider Razgatlioglu came out on top in a breathless duel with the Ducati of Redding, but it had been a three-way battle involving the Kawasaki of Rea for the opening phase of the race.
That was until Rea suffered a major low-side crash at the high-speed Turn 15 right-hander at the end of lap 5 of 20, sending his ZX-10RR flying through the air and leaving his title defence hanging by a thread.
Rea, who appeared to escape significant injury in the crash but was nonetheless taken to the medical centre for checks, now trails Razgatlioglu by 45 points with only eight races remaining.
Up to that point, Rea and Razgatlioglu were engaged in an aggressive battle at the head of the field, swapping the lead on numerous occasions and even making contact, allowing Redding to stick with the leading pair.
In fact, Redding had taken advantage of the pair squabbling to grab the lead on lap 4, and Rea had just taken the lead away from the Ducati man next time round before his crash.
That put Redding back into the lead, with Razgatlioglu settling into second place for a number of laps, but that all changed when the points leader launched an assault on Redding at Turn 1 on lap 11.
Redding was able to stick with Razgatlioglu and appeared to have the advantage exiting the final corner and coming on to the long start/finish straight, leading across the line on both lap 16 and lap 18 only for Razgatlioglu to retake the advantage immediately at Turn 1.
On the penultimate lap, Redding made his move at Turn 1, but Razgatlioglu responded immediately, and was able to hang on for the remainder of the distance for his 11th win of the season and third in succession.
Ten seconds behind the leading duo, an equally entertaining battle was raging for third between Alvaro Bautista's Honda and Go Eleven Ducati stand-in Loris Baz.
Bautista appeared to have a second third-place result in a row in the bag until he suffered an almost identical crash to Rea's at the same corner on the final lap.
That allowed Loris Baz, who is replacing the injured Chaz Davies at Go Eleven, to score his first podium since last year's Magny-Cours round.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi was fourth on the second works Ducati ahead of Leon Haslam's Honda, but both took advantage of Andrea Locatelli (Yamaha) wiping out Michael van der Mark (BMW) at Turn 5 on lap 15.
Garrett Gerloff scored his best finish since August's Most round in sixth on the GRT Yamaha, ahead of Axel Bassani's Motocorsa Ducati and MIE Honda man Leandro Mercado, who took his best result of the season in eighth.
Completing the top 10 were Eugene Laverty, standing in for Tom Sykes at BMW, and the Gil Yamaha of Christophe Ponsson.
Tito Rabat was 13th on his return to WSBK with Puccetti Kawasaki filling in for the injured Lucas Mahias.
|4||21||Michael Ruben Rinaldi||Ducati||20||12.901|
|60||Michael van der Mark||BMW||15|
|View full results|
Portimao WSBK: Razgatlioglu snatches pole from Rea
Frustrated Rea ready to step up aggression against Razgatlioglu