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WorldSBK Navarra Race Two: Toprak Razgatlıoğlu retakes title lead - Everything Moto Racing

WorldSBK Navarra Race Two: Toprak Razgatlıoğlu retakes title lead

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu has retaken the title lead with a victory in Navarra.

World Superbikes never stops giving us more and more drama and incredible racing in 2021 with Jonathan Rea being pushed to his limits every race this year after finally meeting his match in the name of Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, Rea’s consistency has been the key to winning him six consecutive titles however in 2021 Toprak Razgatlıoğlu has been able to match this consistency to perfection as we’ve seen with the pair leaving Navarra tied on 311 points with the lead going to Razgatlıoğlu due to his win and 2nd place tally.

If there is anything we can take from this weekend is firstly that Navarra is an excellent track, secondly its that Jonathan Rea absolutely hates Navarra. Despite Rea getting pole position he has struggled all weekend long saving more front end slides than you can count on your fingers, losing second place in Race Two to Scott Redding after his second front slide lost him too much time, the track is incredibly bumpy and has been difficult with Rea making his very well known to anyone who will listen, mentioning that the last few corners are all first gear which makes it quite difficult for the Northern Irishman.

Despite this Rea still managed three podiums all weekend long but it wasn’t enough to maintain the title lead with Razgatlıoğlu’s Race Two win closing the title lead from nine points down to a fat zero.

The race began with drama, the riders were all enduring the agonising wait on the grid for the lights to go out until Kohta Nozanne put his hand up, forcing the start procedure to be delayed for five minutes, subsequently after what felt like forever the grid lined up to start the race, without Mahias? Just as the race was about to begin the dawdling Mahias rounded the last corner and started the race, eventually being slapped with a double long lap penalty.

It was an incredible scrap in the opening few laps with Andrea Locatelli swiping the lead from Jonathan Rea heading into the opening corners, the Yamaha man showing absolutely no fear with the entire top six riding as if their lives depended on it with pure aggression. The inexperienced but talented Locatelli would find himself being pushed back to P6 by the end of the opening lap as his teammate Toprak Razgatlıoğlu crossed the line in P1 for the first time. Rea knew the championship points and his lead would be incredibly important here, if he won the race he would leave Navarra with a minimum points lead of 14 and battled his way with the young Turkish rider as Scott Redding sat behind in wait of a mistake and a chance to pounce.

Razgatlıoğlu would prove to be too strong for Rea and put in a healthy gap handing the six-time champion to Scott Redding to play with like a discarded toy. With 11 laps to go Redding had been able to analyse and study Rea enough to be able to confidently catch up to him and apply the pressure, forcing Rea to push on shaving a few tenths from his lap time after accepting that the Yamaha wasn’t going to be beaten by the Kawasaki today. With five laps to go Rea’s pushing had ruined his front tyre enough that the lack of grip was affecting his race, losing the front in the second half of the lap but holding onto second place, however a lap later the same mistake would be made again allowing Redding to pass and advance onto Toprak.

Redding genuinely had pace to win the race cutting 0.300 seconds a lap off Toprak but by the time there was only two laps to go it wasn’t possible, despite this Redding came home in a very very strong second place closing down the title gap to a mere 38 points, putting him back into contention.

Andrea Locatelli finished his weekend with a 4-4-4, unable to beat the trio of Razgatlıoğlu, Redding and Rea but proving he is the next best rider on track, the rookie maturing race by race, it’s not going to be long until he’s held in the same regard as the leaders. ‘Loca’ beat Tom Sykes who finished in the top 5 proving to BMW that getting rid of him was a bad idea.

Alex Lowes came home in sixth, another solid points haul for the team and manufacturer championship standings in Kawasaki’s favour, he finished ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Michael van der Mark as Alvaro Bautista put the hopeless Honda in the top 10, the rumours of a Ducati switch hotting up. Rounding off the top 10 was top independent rider Axel Bassani leading fellow Ducati Tito Rabat.

Full results – 

Featured image – Yamaha