WorldSBK: Race Reports From RD11 At Portimao
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) raced to victory, his first in WorldSBK at the Algarve circuit in Portimao and his 11th of the year, whilst Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) crashed at speed from the lead of the race at turn 15.
In what was one of the most intense opening five laps of the season, neither Razgatlioglu or Rea wanted to give an inch as they duelled hard. On lap two, Rea put a superb pass on Razgatlioglu at turn 11 but Toprak held on at turn 12, firing his Yamaha back through. Rea tried again at turn 13 but ran slightly wide, whilst Razgatlioglu scythed back through, colliding with Rea. The fight continued as Rea had a huge moment at turn one on lap five before getting under Razgatlioglu again at turn 11, whilst race leader Scott Redding ran wide at turn 13, with Rea coming back through to the lead. Then, disaster, as Rea tucked the front at turn 15, his Kawasaki ZX-10 RR barrelling through the gravel.
At the front, Scott Redding was leading the way until Toprak took back the lead at turn 1 with just less than four laps to go, and whilst Redding continued to try and retaliate, he couldn’t keep Toprak at bay. Razgatlioglu delivered Yamaha a first Portimao win since Marco Melandri in 2011.
The fight for third was an ongoing affair throughout the 20-lap encounter with Leon Haslam (Team HRC) starting from third place holding onto that position until around the mid-way point of the race before he dropped positions, with Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) working his way up to third place on lap 12. There was plenty of action between the six riders in contention for a podium, with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), Haslam and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) all running wide at turn one at various points of the race.
As the race progressed, Bautista was unable to pull out a gap to the chasing pack with Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) and Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) chasing Bautista, Baz making the move at turn one before van der Mark and Locatelli, still chasing third, made contact at turn five with Locatelli retiring and van der Mark bringing his bike back to the pits; the incident will be investigated after the race by the FIM WorldSBK stewards. With the pair out of contention for the podium, Baz and Bautista battled for third place with the Spaniard coming out on top. At turn 15 on the final lap, Bautista crashed out of the race with Baz inheriting third place.
Rinaldi finished the race in fourth place after the incredible battle for third place, with Haslam eventually coming home in fifth place after starting from the front row. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed a solid sixth place, just three tenths behind Haslam in fifth place.
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) continued his strong rookie campaign with seventh place ahead of Argentinean star Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda) claiming eighth place – his best result of the 2021 campaign. Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) battled up for ninth with Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha).
Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) missed out on the top ten by just over half-a-second but came home in 11th place, just ahead of Italian Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team); Cavalieri just a second behind Viñales. 2014 Moto2™ World Champion Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) scored points on his first WorldSBK race onboard Kawasaki machinery, with Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) rounding out the points.
Lachlan Epis, retired from the race, while Gabriele Ruiu (B-Max Racing Team) was also a retirement from the race, along with Rea, Locatelli, van der Mark and Bautista.
Race One Podium (Full Results Here)
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.691s
3 Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) +10.628s
Tissot Sprint Race
Almost 3,000 days since their last win in 2013 (Nürburgring), BMW claimed WorldSBK victory as Michael van der Mark mastered tricky conditions at the Algarve circuit at Portugal’s Portimao to take the flag in the Tissot Superpole Sprint, while title contender Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea crashed out.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) got the better start of the xhampionship’s lead trio but soon found himself under pressure from Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with six-time world champion Rea taking the lead on the opening lap.
As the leaders approached turn 13, Rea lost the front of his machine and went off the track, the crash forcing him out of the race for the second consecutive race after his race one crash on Saturday, meaning Rea will start from tenth for race two Sunday afternoon. Razgatlioglu and Redding were the lead duo, but things soon changed in the 10-lap race as Razgatlioglu dropped down through the order while Redding remained clear at the front.
\With all the drama out in front, van der Mark was working his way through the field and moved into the lead of the race on lap 4 after taking advantage of Redding running wide at the left-hander hairpin; BMW leading a race for the first time since Phillip Island 2020. He will therefore start race two from first on the grid, ahead of Redding in second.
Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) claimed third place after withstanding the challenge from Leon Haslam (Team HRC), although Haslam did briefly pass Baz before crashing out on lap 8. A second crash for Haslam on lap 9 meant he brought his machine back to the pits, promoting Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) into fourth place.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) was another beneficiary from his teammate’s misfortune to move into fifth place, ahead of championship leader Razgatlioglu in sixth; the Turkish star able to limit his damage in the race after dropping down the order rapidly in the early stages, with Bautista and Razgatlioglu completing the second row alongside Locatelli.
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) continued his streak of top-ten finishes since his podium finish in Catalunya with seventh place, withstanding a charge from Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) with the American star just 0.068s behind Bassani. Irish rider Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was almost two seconds back from Gerloff with ninth as he starts from the third row.
Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) claimed the first top ten of his WorldSBK career as he finished in tenth place, as the top Kawasaki rider, two seconds clear of Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) in 11th; although both riders will start from their Superpole result as they missed out on a top-nine spot.
Tissot Superpole Podium (Full Results Here)
1 Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
2 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +4.140s
3 Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) +5.479s
The start was delayed due to a technical issue when the riders were lining up on the grid, with the delay meaning the race distanced was reduced one lap to 19 laps. Starting from tenth place, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was on the move from the get-go and was second by the end of the opener, while Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) moved into third place.
Rea made his move for the lead through the fast turn nine left-hander on lap two on Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), relegating the British rider who had led from the start. At the start of lap two, Razgatlioglu passed Rea into turn one before the six-time world champion responded. The trio were battling throughout the opening laps, with both Razgatlioglu and Rea able to take advantage of Redding running wide at turns five and ten on the same lap.
Razgatlioglu made a move on Rea down the start-and-finish straight to move into the right-hander of turn one at the start of lap seven, before Rea responded at turn ten. At the end of lap ten, Razgatlioglu crashed at turn 15, the same place Rea did in race one, forcing the championship leader out of the race. Rea went on to take the 110th win and the 210th podium of his career, narrowing the gap in the championship to 24 points. Rea’s victory means both he and Razgatlioglu have scored 25 podiums this season, the first time it has happened in WorldSBK history. The top two in the Championship are also tied with 25 podiums and 11 wins each.
At the start of lap 13, Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) moved up into podium contention after his third-place start in race two after overtaking Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) into turn one; Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) had tried to pass both of them but Baz was wise to it, cutting back on the Spanish rider to re-take third place. Two laps later and Bautista looked to make a move through the opening couple of corners with Baz defending and keeping the position.
On lap 18, Bautista looked to make a move on Baz into the turn five hairpin, with Bautista running wide and Baz looking to reclaim the place. Through the exit of the corner, the pair made contact with Bautista coming off his bike and retiring from the race. Baz held on to cross the line in third place, while Locatelli came home in fourth place after withstanding a late surge from fellow Yamaha rider Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in fifth place. After the race, Baz was sanctioned with a one place position drop, demoting him to fourth place and promoting Locatelli to third; the Italian’s fourth podium of his rookie campaign.
Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was sixth after starting from first place, five seconds clear of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) with the Italian suffering from a right ankle sprain and contusion and a right hip contusion following his Tissot Superpole Race crash. He battled with Leon Haslam (Team HRC) throughout the race with the pair separated by just three tenths at the end of the 19-lap encounter.
Italian rookie Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) continued his strong form with ninth place, after battling with Rea during the open lap of the race, eventually finishing two tenths clear of Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) as he scored points again as he continues to stand in for Tom Sykes.
Laverty finished five seconds clear of Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) in 11th place, who was also clear of Spanish rider Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 12th place. Japanese rookie Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was 13th, just over a second behind Viñales, with Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) and Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) rounding out the points. Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) was the last of the classified runners in 16th place.
Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) was the first retirement of the race after a crash at the start of lap three, with the Belgian rookie taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the incident. Cresson was diagnosed with a concussion and a left knee injury and will be transported to Portimao Hospital for further assessments. Cresson’s teammate, Lachlan Epis, also retired from the race while Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) suffered from technical issues during the early running and brought his bike back to the pits. Wildcard Gabriele Ruiu (B-Max Racing Team) was also a retirement from race two after completing 10 laps.
Race Two Podium (Full Results Here)
1 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +5.425s
3 Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +12.289s
Championship Standings After Round 11 (Full Standings Here)
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 478 points
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 454
3 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 424