The Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours witnessed plenty of racing drama and intense battles at the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.
Toprak Razgatlioglu of Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK showcased his speed by clinching an impressive double victory, closing the gap on reigning champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). Meanwhile, Bautista endured a rollercoaster weekend, ultimately defending his championship lead with grit and determination. Rea was consistent and strong as always with three 3rd place finishes. Garett Gerloff made history with his performance in the Tissot Superpole session as he took his first pole position, the team’s first pole and BMW’s first since Barcelona 2021. He followed that up with fourth in Race 1 and fifth in Race 2 as he enjoyed his best-ever BMW weekend and helped the German manufacturer move clear of Honda in the Manufacturers’ Championship!
Race 1: Razgatlioglu Resists Rinaldi
On Saturday, the action kicked off with a red-flagged Race 1. Razgatlioglu, displaying his prowess, battled fiercely with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) throughout the race. Rinaldi, determined to secure victory, made an aggressive move at Turn 11 to briefly lead, but Razgatlioglu fought back. The Turkish sensation eventually clinched the win, securing his sixth victory of the season and his 38th overall in WorldSBK.
Behind them, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) secured third place after an early-race tussle with teammate Alex Lowes. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) showcased his tenacity, climbing from the back to secure fourth place. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) continued to impress with a fifth-place finish, while Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) narrowly missed the podium, taking sixth.
Tissot Superpole Race: Razgatlioglu’s Dominance Continues
Sunday morning saw Razgatlioglu’s domination continue as he won the Tissot Superpole Race in dramatic fashion. The Turkish rider executed a stunning manoeuvre on Lap 2, going from third to first and leaving both factory Ducati riders in his wake. Rinaldi briefly claimed second place before Bautista reasserted himself. However, chaos ensued on Lap 5 when Razgatlioglu’s attempt to pass Rinaldi resulted in contact, causing Rinaldi to retire. Bautista, despite briefly falling behind Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes, rallied to secure second place, marking his 80th podium finish.
Race 2: Bautista Bounces Back
In the final race of the French Round, Alvaro Bautista showed his resilience by bouncing back with a win in Race 2. After a fierce battle with Razgatlioglu and Rea, Bautista emerged victorious, extending his lead in the championship by five points. A red flag briefly halted proceedings after an incident involving Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) and Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), but the race resumed, with Bautista maintaining his lead.
Razgatlioglu, keen to challenge Bautista, briefly took second place but a mistake at Turn 5 allowed Bautista to escape. Razgatlioglu and Rea engaged in a thrilling battle for second, with Razgatlioglu ultimately securing the position.
The Championship Picture
With his impressive double victory at Magny-Cours, Toprak Razgatlioglu narrows the gap to championship leader Alvaro Bautista to 57 points. Bautista, in his quest to defend his title, continues to lead the championship standings with 467 points, while Razgatlioglu is in hot pursuit with 410 points. Jonathan Rea sits in third place with 290 points, and Andrea Locatelli follows closely with 256 points.
The French Round provided thrilling action and a significant shakeup in the championship race, setting the stage for more exciting battles as the WorldSBK season continues to unfold. Don’t miss the next round of WorldSBK action as the riders go head-to-head in their pursuit of WSBK glory!