The Pirelli French Round will go down in the history books of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. It began with Turkey’s first ever winner in Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) and finished with Jonathan Rea winning race two to become the championship’s first ever five-time champion following early misfortune for nearest rival Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati).

WorldSBK Race One: Turkish Delight:  Razgatlioglu makes history in France
Starting from 16th, Toprak Razgatlioglu produced one of the great WorldSBK comebacks to claim his maiden win.

Despite a disappointing Tissot Superpole session, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) made WorldSBK history at the Pirelli French Round by becoming the first Turkish winner in the championship’s history. In doing so, he also set a new record for the most positions gained to take a maiden WorldSBK victory.

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki

After qualifying on the sixth row, Razgatlioglu had plenty of work to do but a sensational opening lap saw him soar into contention. With one position gained thanks to Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) being demoted to the back of the grid on the warm-up lap, Toprak passed eight others to end the opening lap in seventh.

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Razgatlioglu’s ascent up the order continued although he was fortunate to avoid an accident on lap four when Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) crashed out, making slight contact with the Turkish rider’s right arm. After a late crash for Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team), Razgatlioglu was chasing down Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) for the victory, ultimately getting the better of the world champion with four corners remaining.

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki

“For me, it wasn’t easy because the last two laps I felt big stress”, he explained. “I thought I could get my first win and I pushed all the laps. In the last laps, I knew Jonathan was very fast in the first sector and in the other sectors I’m catching him a little. On the last lap I pushed more for the first win and I’m very happy!”

Not only has Razgatlioglu made history for a Turkish rider in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, but the 22-year-old is now firmly in the race for third overall in the championship standings, trailing Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) by just 11 points heading into tomorrow’s Tissot Superpole Race.

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Kawasaki

Top six in Race 1: (full results here)

  1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
  2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  3. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
  4. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha)
  5. Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
  6. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Kawasaki

WorldSBK Sprint: Two in a row as Razgatlioglu reigns again
Turkish rider storms to second successive victory as Rea sets up first title chance in Race 2.
Yesterday’s comeback was impressive as Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) claimed a momentous maiden victory, but the 22-year-old made it two out of two at the Pirelli French Round, clinching a stunning Tissot Superpole Race victory after another battle with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who now has the mathematical possibility of securing a fifth WorldSBK crown in race two this afternoon.

As the lights went out, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) launched into an early lead, slipping up the inside of Jonathan Rea into the first corner. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) maintained third with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) climbing two places to fourth. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu were both big movers, improving up to 8th and 10th respectively.

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The Razgatlioglu roll continued on the second lap, gaining three places in an incredible move on the brakes into the Adelaide hairpin, overhauling Chaz Davies, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team). In the meantime, Jonathan Rea had managed to wrestle control away from Michael van der Mark, easing up the inside at the Imola chicane.

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki

Eleven places had been gained in the first two laps, and two more would follow for Razgatlioglu on lap three, as the remarkable prowess of the Turkish rider on the brakes took him past Tom Sykes at the Adelaide hairpin, before Leon Haslam relinquished third three corners later. When Michael van der Mark was overtaken at Adelaide shortly before half distance, the stage was set for a repeat of yesterday’s last lap battle for the lead in race one.

On lap seven, the comeback was complete with the Turkish Puccetti Racing rider storming up the inside of Rea into his favourite overtaking spot, the Adelaide hairpin. The world champion stayed in touch with Razgatlioglu, and even threatened a counter attack on the final lap, but the Ulsterman couldn’t quite get his Kawasaki stopped into turn five, opening the door for Toprak to ease past on the exit and claim his second victory in a row.

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Kawasaki

The fight for the final front row spot in race two went down to the last lap as well with Chaz Davies, who had earlier made light work of Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes, chasing down the Yamaha of Michael van der Mark. The Dutchman held on for third in the end, with Davies ensuring he will head the second row of the grid this afternoon in fourth. Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) produced a strong recovery to finish fifth, setting similar lap times to the leaders at various points of the race, but the Spaniard must avoid any mistakes in race two to keep Jonathan Rea waiting for the title. Alex Lowes was sixth, and will complete row two on the grid for race two.

Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) returned the favour after losing out to Tom Sykes in the latter stages of race one. The Frenchman delighted the home crowd by snatching seventh on the last lap with Leon Haslam falling back to ninth by the chequered flag, the last of the points scorers.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) rode a strong race to tenth as all 20 starters completed the Tissot Superpole Race at Magny Cours. By virtue of his strong performance in Saturday’s Tissot Superpole session, Rinaldi will head the fourth row for race two later this afternoon.

Top six in Tissot Superpole Race: (full results here)

  1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
  2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  3. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
  4. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
  5. Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
  6. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki

WorldSBK Race Two: Starting from pole position for the first time in WorldSBK, Toprak Razgatlioglu couldn’t make the same lightning start which saw him leap up the order in the two previous races. Rea edged up the inside into turn one to grab the lead but he wouldn’t stay ahead for long, as Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) used the slipstream to hit the front at the Adelaide hairpin.

The moment which ultimately proved decisive in the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship came on lap two as Razgatlioglu lost the rear of his Kawasaki on the exit of turn 13. As the Turkish rider fought to control the slide, Alvaro Bautista was powerless to avoid the race one winner and both riders were eliminated on the spot. With the words ‘BAUTISTA OUT’ displayed on his pit-board next time around, Rea now knew that a race victory would see him make history.

Michael van der Mark was keen to ensure that Rea didn’t have an unchallenged run to a fifth WorldSBK crown, keeping the Ulsterman at bay until the Imola chicane on lap six. The Dutchman didn’t trail for long with the Yamaha proving a formidable motorcycle down the back straight towards Turn 5, an advantage van der Mark utilised to power past on lap eight.

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki

As the race ticked over half distance, Rea mounted another attack on the leader with van der Mark going defensive into Adelaide. The championship leader was wise to this tactic though and drew alongside into the following Nurburgring chicane, making the move stick on lap 13. With van der Mark no longer close enough to make use of the slipstream next time around, Rea had the margin he needed to ease clear.

Despite a valiant effort from van der Mark, the advantage grew to over one-second, allowing Rea to close out the final laps and claim his 12th victory of 2019. This one was the sweetest of all though as he completed one of the great WorldSBK comebacks. From 61 points behind, Rea now holds an unassailable 129-point advantage and a place in the history books as the first ever five-time WorldSBK champion.

Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) completed the team’s first double-podium of the season with a close third, consolidating third in the championship standings, while Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), who was heavily delayed in the early collision between his team-mate Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu, recovered to finish fourth, overtaking home favourite Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) on lap 14. Despite a late challenge from the Frenchman, he was forced to settle for fifth, completing a positive weekend at his home round as the Top Independent Rider in race two.

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki

Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) closed out the final European round of his WorldSBK career with a strong charge from 15th on the grid to sixth, winning a close three-way fight on the last lap. The Italian finished just a tenth of a second clear of Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) right behind the pair in eighth.

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Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) capped off an impressive comeback to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with ninth place, finishing a second clear of Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing). Elsewhere, there were points for French wildcard Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) in 13th but disappointment for Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) who was forced to retire midway through the race while running in the top ten.

Top six in Race 2: (full results here)

  1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
  2. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
  3. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
  4. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
  5. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha)
  6. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK)

Championship points after WorldSBK round 11:  Magny Cours (full results here)

  1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 544 points
  2. Alvaro Bautista – Ducati 415 points
  3. Alex Lowes – Yamaha 279 points
  4. Michael van der Mark – Yamaha 274 points
  5. Toprak Razgatlioglu – Kawasaki 260 points

FIM Superbike World Championship, Round 11, 27-29 September 2019, Magny Cours, France, Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki

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