Jonathan Rea won the Tissot Superpole Race on Sunday morning which was preceded by a downpour that wet the track and made tyre choice a gamble but the Northern Irishman slid out of the dry Race Two on Sunday afternoon after what had been a tense battle between the six-time World Champ and the Turkish challenger.
Jonathan Rea found himself under pressure from Razgatlioglu in the early stages of the 23-lap Race Two after the Turkish star once again made up positions from the start as he found himself in second place on the exit of Turn 1.
Razgatlioglu made his move on Rea on Lap 4 at the right-hander of Coppice, Turn 8, on Rea to move into the lead of the race as he looked for his second win of the weekend. Rea nearly ran up the rear of the Turkish star under braking into the Foggy Esses but Rea’s pressure paid off on Lap 10. Razgatlioglu made a mistake at the same corner he had earlier passed Rea for the lead, running wide on his Yamaha YZF R1, allowing Rea back through into the lead of the race, but just a single lap later Rea found himself in the gravel at Coppice, tumbling out of the points. Rea re-joined the race in 20th place on Lap 11 and that is where he finished the race.
American Garrett Gerloff claimed his best result of the 2021 campaign with second place after working his way past Tom Sykes to move into second place, securing Yamaha’s tenth 1-2 finish in WorldSBK history while Sykes claimed his second consecutive podium finish.
Sykes found himself under a lot of pressure in the latter stages of the race from Scott Redding as the British rider bounced back from a difficult weekend so far in his first home round in the Championship, missing out on a podium by less than a second.
Dutchman Michael van der Mark was unable to convert a front row start into a podium finish but came home in fifth place after a strong weekend for the BMW outfit and their brand-new M 1000 RR machine, finishing more than a second clear of Alex Lowes who rounded out the top six.
Chaz Davies finished in seventh place a despite carrying a knock on his shoulder following a crash at Misano last time out, finishing two seconds clear of Michael Ruben Rinaldi in eighth place. Team HRC duo Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top ten with ninth and tenth respectively; Haslam had started from fourth while Bautista battled his way up the order from 16th place.
Italian rookie Andrea Locatelli claimed another points finish with 11th place with Lucas Mahias falling down the order despite a strong starting position but still secured a points finish ahead of Axel Bassani, Tito Rabat and Eugene Laverty who completed the points paying positions.
Luke Mossey missed out on his second points finish of the weekend by just a few seconds behind Laverty, with Spanish rider Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) and Loris Cresson all finished ahead of Rea after his crash. Jonas Folger was the first rider to retire in the early stages of the race when he brought his BMW M 1000 RR into the pitlane.
Thanks to his victories in Saturday’s Race One and Sunday’s Race Two, Toprak Razgatlioglu now leads Jonathan Rea by two-points in the Superbike World Championship.
The WorldSBK paddock now have a few weeks off before they will get back down to action late this month at Assen, July 23-25, where the WorldSSP and WorldSSP 300 categories will be back on the card with the big boys.
“This morning the Superpole Race was not so good, I tried my best but it was a sixth position finish with the intermediate tyres. I hoped that we would see dry conditions for Race 2 because this is the important race and I need to be at the front. The race was not easy because every lap I was pushing for the win. I followed Jonathan and the race track grip was not like yesterday, because three times I almost lose the front tyre! And I say, “okay, now I follow Jonny and we see near the end” but he made a big mistake and crashed, so after that I try for a consistent lap time and bring the bike back to the team. I think my favourite track is Donington Park, because in 2018 and 2019 I was on the podium two times in second position. This year, two victories, so I am really happy and I want again to thank Yamaha and my team. In Assen, I like the track but it will be the first time I ride the R1 there – but I think no problem, I am looking forward to it!”
“A bitter sweet day really. The Superpole race in mixed conditions was really stressful on the grid, because we saw some guys used a wet tyre but the clear choice was the intermediate – or even the slick, to be honest if I had to do the race again. I built a nice lead and was able to maintain that 2.5 second gap to the end. In Race Two we changed the bike quite a lot from yesterday because I was struggling quite a lot with grip, and the bike was not turning as well. We fixed that in morning warm-up for Race Two. When Toprak came through and I ran wide into the chicane I gained the time I had lost to him quite quickly. I just kept my powder dry then he made a mistake at Coppice and I passed him. I just put my head down because I had the rhythm, the bike set-up and the feeling. But, going into Coppice I got caught out wide on the bumps a little bit, the front unloaded and when I tipped it in I lost the front. I am frustrated with myself but I am feeling a lot more positive than I did yesterday because I felt I did not have the tools to fight then. Today I felt it was my race but I made a silly mistake. We just have to maximise every opportunity now.”
“Credit to the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. We have come here, tried to just assess the situation after the Navarra test and really, I am happy. I was training at the beginning of the week and when I came to my house and got off my pushbike, I knew: this is the weekend. Considering what we learned at Navarra I would be going to drag the thing around Donington Park if I have to. On Friday, I was pushing the boundaries and went to the deck twice. Normally I ride to the limit and stop just like I did today in the race. The guys did an incredible job, giving me a perfect bike in terms of what we had available in our tool box so I think we got the best from our package this weekend. Still, we need to improve but this is a whole confidence boost for the team and me. It gives everyone what they deserve. And what’s really nice is that we had two BMWs, myself and Michael, on the front row in wet conditions and then with the intermediates in tricky conditions, we were on the podium again – both BMWs, second and third. Then in that last race, it was tricky in the beginning but ultimately a dry race on a different rear tyre. I am not really sure if I am happy with the tyre I chose but we dug deep and the tyre gave us a podium so for this I am happy. Hopefully now we can continue with the information we have and try to keep improving.”
Michael van der Mark
“We had a really good Sunday. It was nice this morning in the Superpole race. The track was a little bit tricky so early everyone went on intermediates and it was the right choice. I really enjoyed it. It was good to finish on the podium together with Tom. Then in race two I had quite a good feeling but I just struggled too much in changing directions; I lost a lot of time there compared to the other guys. But in the end, we finished fifth so we have a lot of valuable points and it was nice to have Tom on the podium again.”
“That was a tough day when I expected to be really strong. In the mixed conditions I was strong, to be honest, and I felt really good on the bike for the Superpole race. We had some experience from Aragon on the Intermediate tyres. I thought on the grid I was going to have a chance. The crash was completely my mistake but into the Old Hairpin on the outside of the track there were a lot of wet patches. I was so conscious of not overshooting and hitting the wet patch that I turned it too tight and caught the white line on the inside. I just touched it and it was enough to crash. It is a shame because with my pace I should have had a good race. After Saturday’s podium it would have been good. In the final race I do not really know what happened. After starting tenth I managed to gain some places in the first corner but I was just slower than expected. I have been fast in every dry session but in the race I was struggling and spinning. I do not really know why. If I look at today it has been disappointing but if I look at the weekend, my first time here on the Kawasaki, I gained some points on third in the championship. That is the positive side.”
“Needless to say, I expected a lot more from this weekend. We encountered so many difficulties from the beginning and, as if that wasn’t enough, the Superpole Race was a real disaster. I take responsibility for having raced with rain tires, already in the warm-up lap I realized I had made the wrong choice but there was no time to fix it. In Race 2, however, for the first time this weekend, I felt a positive feeling with my Ducati. The world title? Yes, the gap is wide but in Superbike there are many points available and certainly, I will not give up after 4 rounds!”
“It’s been a very strange weekend with unpredictable weather conditions that didn’t allow us to work properly. In Race-1 and in the Superpole Race the tarmac was humid and I have been maybe too “careful” losing, as a consequence, many positions. Race-2 was the most normal race of the weekend in dry conditions. I cannot be happy with the final position but we have understood many things that I’m sure will help us in the future. I’m a little bit disappointed with the results of this weekend but I’m sure that in Assen we can be very competitive again”.
“Overall, it has been a tough weekend. On Friday we tried something different with the set-up just to verify a few things and collect some information, but it didn’t work as we’d expected so we went back to a more base set-up. Then yesterday, mixed weather conditions limited the time we had available to define the best set-up. In the end our best day in terms of feeling with the bike was today, but our gamble with rain tyres in the sprint race didn’t pay off. In Race 2 we actually improved our pace over the course of the 23 laps and were able to achieve a top ten finish, but honestly this isn’t what we are aiming for. We need to improve from here on in, because we really want to be doing better of course.”
“It felt good to get fourth today. I felt we were in the mix for the podium in both yesterday’s race 1 and the Superpole race, which was definitely a positive. We then had some issues in today’s second race, but overall we can say that we’ve taken some steps over the weekend and are clear as to where we need to work. My pace was quite strong in the sprint race, which we ran on intermediate tyres, and my set-up wasn’t bad in the last race either, it was just a pity that we had an issue that ultimately saw me go backwards rather than forwards. All in all, a better weekend for us, and we hope to build on this next time out at Assen.”
“In the Superpole Race, I lost the front group at the start and the conditions were little bit crazy like yesterday. I was in the middle group and I lost too much time but in the end we were able to take P9 to start on the third row of the grid for Race 2. But, in Race 2, there was just one point on the circuit where I lost too much time with the rear grip, especially in the last sector – I don’t understand why. But from the first to the last lap, I found it so difficult to ride and to stay with the group in front. In the end, it was not so easy. But we can be happy with this weekend after the crash in Race 1. I want to thank my crew because they worked a lot yesterday to give me a new bike. Now, we go to Assen and for sure we will try to start faster and push a little bit more for the next race. I know the track from Moto3 and Moto2 which is one nice point, so we will stay focused just on the setup and to try and go as fast as possible!”
“It was a pretty difficult weekend here at Donington Park. I had high hopes for here because I know the character of the BMW M 1000 RR is well suited to the majority of the flowing Donington track but we never had a good feeling this weekend. That has been the case with the bike since my big crash at Misano so now we have to investigate if there is some damage from the bike from the crash that hasn’t still been recognized because it’s impossible to be so slow this weekend when we see what the official BMWs were doing. We should be there together with them. So let’s investigate and come back stronger.”
“It was a difficult weekend and I am sorry for the entire team that we find ourselves in this situation. Right now, we are searching for solutions that we have not yet been able to find. I hope that things will improve soon and we can make progress.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“I’m a little bit surprised to be honest because, with the weather forecast as it was and Jonathan’s history of winning in wet conditions, the expectation was maybe more to manage the losses this weekend than it was to take the championship lead for the first time! Toprak was simply stunning today. Even the Superpole Race on a really difficult circuit, keeping it on two wheels and improving his pace throughout to secure a great starting position for the important Race 2 – and then of course, the battle at the front was only between him and Jonathan from the first corner onwards. It looked like it was going to be a fair bit of cat and mouse, but Toprak managed to pressure Jonathan into a mistake and from then on, he used his head superbly, managed the gap and brought it home for a famous double victory and lead in the WorldSBK Championship. A great moment for the team, Yamaha and Toprak, but we’ll keep our feet on the ground. We’re only four rounds into a 13 round series and we look forward to re-joining the fight in Assen. Andrea’s day was positive in terms of the Superpole Race and improvement into the top nine, showing good strong pace to get there. But Race 2 was a disappointment for him, he suffered a lot of rear wheel spin which hadn’t been the case earlier in the day and the team will be checking from a setup point of view to see if anything more could have been done to improve this point as Andrea picks up more valuable WorldSBK experience.”
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“We are very happy. It’s very good to get this under the belt, it takes away a bit of the pressure when we focus on the next rounds. As I said yesterday, there is still some work to do. I was hoping for some rain today but it didn’t come in the afternoon. So it was very, very good to confirm our performance in a full dry race on slicks as we were definitely not as competitive in such conditions in the last race and also at the beginning of this weekend. Overall, to come away with three podiums is of course very, very pleasing. This is something we can build on. Crucial for this weekend was definitely our Superpole qualifying because if you look at the pace of the others you know that you could easily be sixth, seventh or eighth if you are not in that front row. Now it’s time to settle down, look at the data, gather our thoughts and make the next step.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team
“It was a fantastic day. It’s our home track, the home round for Tom and us, so it was a sensational day for all. I think we stepped up. We’ve come back from a really disappointing Misano round, we have reacted. In the sprint race, there were changeable conditions and almost everyone went for intermediate tyres which was the right decision. Then in race two, with dry conditions, all started on slicks and it shows the step we have made with the BMW M 1000 RR. We were literally a few seconds off the win. We always were in contention for the podium and Tom did a fantastic race and Michael was not far behind him. He withstood the pressure from Alex Lowes on the Kawasaki and brought the bike home in a strong fifth. Now we all are looking forward to Michael’s home round at Assen.”
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.