Razgatlioglu takes Race 2 victory ahead of Rinaldi at drama-filled Magny-Cours
The Motul FIM Superbike World Championship, Pirelli French Round at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours did not disappoint over the weekend, on all fronts.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) took a hard-fought Race 2 win against Rinalidi and Bassani, further seeing him move up the Championship ladder and closing the gap to Bautista after disaster struck for the Spaniard.
Razgatlioglu explained the Pirelli French Round a “strange weekend for all riders”. After a costly mistake in Race 1 that saw Toprak crash and re-join the race to finish in P11, gaining strong results in Sunday’s Superpole and Race 2 were vital to his Championship campaign – and he managed just that, with back-to-back wins in Superpole and Race 2.
Toprak Razgatlioglu: “Today we were very strong. We won in the Superpole Race and, for me, Race 2 was very important. We normally take very big points from Race 2 and today I’m very happy. This is my favourite track, and we won again. Normally, my dream for this weekend is three wins but Saturday for me was bad luck On Saturday, my big problem was with the brake but today we changed all the kit and I’m feeling my better. Also, we improved the bike a little bit and I keep fighting for the win. I’m not thinking about the Championship. I don’t know how many points; I’m looking race by race and fighting for the win. Today, I am very happy. This weekend was a strange weekend for all riders.”
The tables turned for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team in Race 2 with a different face on the podium this time around, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi managing to defend Bassani for second place his best result so far in the 2022 season.
In a podium that meant a lot to the Ducati rider, Rinaldi now moves up a spot in the Championship, with a 1-point buffer to Andrea Locatelli.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi: “It’s been difficult to get the results that we have showed we can get. This podium means a lot to me. It was also really nice race, because I fought really hard with Jonny, with Axel and with Toprak, so I enjoyed it. The last part of the race, I was pushing too much and didn’t save the tyre for the last laps. I tried to stay with Toprak and fight in the last laps, but my tyre was finished. I couldn’t push too much, but I need to be happy with second place. It’s good to be back on the podium.”
Leading Independent rider Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was a familiar face on the podium this weekend, finishing Race 2 with another 3rd position – the first time in his WorldSBK career to have stood on the podium twice in a single round.
Axel Bassani: “I tried to stay in front all the race. It was the first time for me in the front of the race. It was difficult, but I tried, and now I understand some things. I want to continue like this; two podium places in one weekend is incredible. It’s the first time I’m achieving it in my career and for my team. Now we are very consistent, and I want to continue this way and repeat these results in Barcelona.”
But, despite the action happening up the front, the talking point of Race 2 was the clash between Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) on Lap 2 at Turn 13.
The clash saw Bautista force to retire from the race, and Rea deemed to be at fault and subsequently handed a Long Lap Penalty which he served on Lap 7, re-joining the race in seventh after losing a few positions.
Following Rea’s long lap penalty, he still managed to finish 5th in Race 2, but with Toprak’s strong Superpole and Race 2 results, Rea’s weekend also took a tumble down the Championship standings.
Following the incident, Rea said he arrived at Turn 133 with zero bad intentions, but ambitions got the better of him as he aimed to make a good last sector before the long back straight.
Jonathan Rea: “Firstly, I’m really sorry Bautista went down. There was some contact there. I’ve been to see him already and offered him my apologies and gave my point of view. I listened to him so, for me, I’ve turned the page now. I arrived at Turn 13 with zero bad intentions. I only had to make a pass; I knew that Toprak would be the guy with the pace. Itried to make a good last sector before the long back straight. I went down to the inside, he committed to the apex so, of course, there was contact. For me, it wasn’t an over the line manoeuvre. I don’t want to ride in this way.”
Bautista explaining the incident from his point of view: “The manoeuvre was out of the limits, for me. This wasn’t a mistake from Jonathan, he intentionally came to me. I think it’s unacceptable, these kinds of things, coming from any rider but especially coming from a great Champion like him. This kind of action, he showed he’s very fast, very brave, he’s a Champion. He won in the past, he wins, he stayed at the front, but he showed a Champion cannot do this kind of action. For me, it’s unacceptable. It’s nice for the Championship but, for me, it’s strange for me that if the stewards consider that it was a bad manoeuvre from Jonathan and they gave him a Long Lap Penalty, I think, it’s not enough. I get out of the race and he finished in fifth place; I think it’s not fair”
WorldSBK will next head to the Catalunya Round at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the 23rd to 25th September.
Championship standings (after Race 2 – Round 7)
- Alvaro Bautista (ESP) – 332 points
- Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) – 302 points
- Jonathan Rea (GBR) – 285 points