The two championship rivals, Fabio Quartararo and Pecco Bagnaia, have both gave differing opinions on how they will approach this weekend.
Heading into the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Quartararo holds a 52-point lead in the Riders’ Standings.
With just two rounds remaining after this weekend, which means just 50 more points will be up for grabs, this is the first ‘match point’ the Frenchman has at claiming the title.
But the Yamaha rider has said his mindset has changed since his second place result last time out in Austin and will be smart about how he rides this weekend.
“Austin was really tough but rewarding,” he said in a Yamaha press release.
“That second place was great for the championship, especially because we only have three GPs left.
“For this final part of the competition my mindset has changed a little. The last time we were in Misano, I was racing for the win and not thinking about the championship at all.
“Of course I will still do my best as always to get the best result possible this weekend, because that’s what I enjoy most, but I will try to be smart about it.”
When the MotoGP paddock headed to Misano just over a month ago for Round 14, Quartararo was beaten to the line by championship rival Pecco Bagnaia.
The Italian rider will need to be on the same form this weekend if he is to have any chance of winning this year’s championship.
Bagnaia has said the objective is clear this weekend, to win the race and keep the fight going to Portimao.
“To be back racing at Misano after the stunning victory that I took here in front of my home crowd a month ago is definitely very exciting,” he said.
“That weekend everything was perfect, and the two days of post-race testing were very positive for us. Nevertheless, we have to stay focused: our rivals will come to this Grand Prix much better prepared, and the track conditions will be different, with lower track temperatures than a month ago.
“It will be essential to work well from the first sessions. The objective will be to fight for the win and keep the Championship open until the end.”
After making it two for two, with the win in race one yesterday and the Superpole race today, Toprak (Pata Yamaha) was looking in scintillating form in San Juan, and was looking to make it a clean sweep of wins.
Lights out and again Razgatlioglu gets the hole shot. Rea (KRT Kawasaki) second, Redding (Aruba.it Ducati) third, Bassani (motocorsa Ducati) fourth, vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) fifth and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) sixth.
Rea was keen not to allow Toprak to escape as he had in race one, and was putting the pressure on in search of a way up the inside of the Yamaha, but was unable to make a move stick. Bassani swooped by on Redding to take third. Toprak went wide out of the straight and allowed Rea to take over the lead.
With 19 laps to go, Rea had put the hammer down setting a new fastest lap of 1:38.256; the front four of Rea, Razgatlioglu, Bassani and Redding were pulling away from the rest. Toprak didn’t stay behind Rea long, before diving up the inside of the Irishman to retake the lead.
With 18 laps to go, Rea now found himself in third after Redding got by. The Ducatis were looking good and Bassani was all over the back of Rea now.
With 17 laps to go, Redding uses the Ducati power to get past Razgatlioglu down the back straight but subsequently goes wide into the next corner, allowing both Toprak and Rea through.
With 15 laps to go, it was Razgatlioglu leading, followed by Rea, Redding, vd Mark and Rinaldi. As they had all season, both Razgatlioglu and Rea were going faring to faring, and the lead swapped several times.
With 14 laps to go Razgatlioglu puts in a fastest lap of 1:37.968, but he can’t break Rea or Redding behind as he had in race one. Meanwhile further back, Davies (GoEleven Ducati) was sat in eigth, chased by Haslam (Honda HRC) and Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team).
With 12 laps to go Redding takes the lead, getting up the inside of Toprak having previously gone through on Rea. Would he be able to get away?
With 10 laps to go, Redding puts in a fastest lap of 1:37.716, steadily pulling away from both Razgatlioglu and Rea behind. Bassani fought back, and is now right on the back of Rea.
With six to go, Rea outbrakes Razgatlioglu into turn one to take 2nd. Meanwhile Redding was looking comfortable in the lead, and held a gap of over two seconds to Rea.
Last lap and Redding denies Razgatlioglu a clean sweep of wins, claiming his first win in Argentina. Rea came across the line for second, ahead of Razgatlioglu, Bassani, Rinaldi, vd Mark, Locatelli and Gerloff.
Toprak Razgatlioglu took victory in Race one of the Argentinian round of WorldSBK.
Lights out and it’s Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) with the hole shot into turn one, but disaster for Redding (Aruba.it Ducati) who loses the front end, and his Ducati spins out into the gravel. It is Razgatlioglu in first, Rea (KRT Kawasaki) second, Lowes (KRT Kawasaki) third, Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) fourth and Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) fifth.
Twenty laps to go and Razgatlioglu and Rea are steadily pulling away from the field. Redding rejoins 15 seconds behind in last place, while further back it’s vd Mark seventh, Haslam (Honda HRC) eighth and Laverty (BMW Motorrad) ninth. Next to crash out is Bautista (Honda HRC), and his race is over.
With 18 laps to go, Razgatlioglu increased his gap to Rea to 1.8 and was looking comfortable out in front, while Rea was battling to hold onto his 2nd position. Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) uses all the top end speed of the Ducati to get through on Lowes down the back straight – the Kawasaki having no answer to the power of the Ducati.
With 12 laps to go, Redding had climbed up to P14. Meanwhile at the front Toprak had cleared off into the distance, and would not be caught unless he made a huge mistake, but was looking odds on for the win. Rea was looking resigned to his second place.
With six laps to go, Bassani (motocorsa Ducati) has got past Lowes, and held a gap of 0.3 to the Kawasaki. Further back it was Locatelli 7th, Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 8th, Haslam (Honda HRC) 9th and Laverty (BMW Motorrad) 10th.
Last lap, and Razgatlioglu crosses the line for his 12th win of the season, Rea 2nd, Rinaldi 3rd, Lowes 4th, Bassani 5th. Meanwhile Redding takes 9th.
There’s definitely one thing the 2021 Moto2 season has not been, and that is predictable. Last weekend’s outing at the Red Bull Ring of the Americas was no exception, creating yet more twists and turns in a fascinating and entertaining season.
Over the last few rounds the championship has evolved into a two-horse race between the Ajo KTM teammates Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez, with Gardner holding onto the top spot with a seemingly comfortable lead. Going into the weekend, Gardner, on 271 points, was 34 points ahead of Fernandez on 237 with Marco Bezzecchi in third place on 190.
Team Ajo KTM yet again dominated the front row with Raul Fernandez starting on pole (the sixth of his rookie season in Moto2), Gardner second and Fabio Di Giannantonio third. Behind them, Marco Bezzecchi started in fourth place, alongside American Cameron Beaubier in fifth, his best start of the season, and Augusto Fernandez in sixth.
Britain’s Jake Dixon started on row 5 in 13th place and Sam Lowes on row 6 in 16th.
Into turn 1 the local rider Cameron Beaubier slots through to take the lead, but only briefly as he runs wide, allowing both Ajo KTM riders through, with Raul taking the lead.
Beaubier drops back to fourth and then fifth as he is passed by Di Giannantonio and Bezzecchi, but comes back at Bezzecchi to regain fourth.
Gardner passes his teammate, but is unable to make it stick, and on lap 2 Gardner is passed by Di Giannantonio, then Beaubier passes both of them to edge back up into second. The ensuing battle allows Fernandez to stretch out a lead of almost 2 seconds at the front.
Lap 3, and Gardner is back up into second place, Beaubier is pushing hard and passes him on lap 4, but is unable to make it stick.
Everything changes on lap 6 as Gardner crashes out, losing the front end in the tight left hander of Turn 15. He tries desperately to restart his stalled machine, but eventually returns to his garage to watch the remainder of the race.
Raul Fernandez now leads by 2.2 seconds from Di Giannantonio, with Bezecchi, Beaubier and Italy’s Tony Arbolino battling for third.
Digiannantonio starts to make inroads into Fernandez’s lead, bringing it down to 1.7 seconds by lap 9.
Sam Lowes, who dropped back several places in the early stages of the race, suffered mechanical issues and limped his Elf Marc VDS machine back to the pitlane.
By lap 14 Raul Fernandez has again stretched out a 2 second lead over Di Giannantonio, who is in turn 2.7 seconds ahead of 3rd place Bezzecchi, with Augusto Fernandez in 4th, Beaubier in 5th and Arbolino in 6th. These positions remained the same for the final few laps.
After an eventful weekend, Gardner’s championship lead is reduced to nine points, but with Raul Fernandez on a roll can he keep his place at the top as we return to Misano?
First fifteen riders:
1 Raul Fernandez SPA – Red Bull KTM Ajo – 25 points
2 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA – Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 – 20
3 Marco Bezzecchi ITA – SKY Racing Team VR46 – 16
4 Augusto Fernandez SPA – Elf Marc VDS Racing Team – 13
5 Cameron Beaubier USA – American Racing – 11
6 Tony Arbolino ITA – Liqui Moly Intact GP – 10
7 Ai Ogura JPN – IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia – 9
8 Xavi Vierge SPA – Petronas Sprinta Racing – 8
9 Marcos Ramirez SPA – American Racing – 7
10 Jake Dixon GBR – Petronas Sprinta Racing – 6
11 Aron Canet – SPA Inde Aspar Team – 5
12 Jorge Navarro SPA – MB Conveyors Speed Up – 4
13 Simone Corsi ITA – MV Agusta Forward Racing – 3
14 Somkiat Chantra THA – IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia – 2
15 Bo Bendsneyder NED – Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team – 1
Viewers would have noted that Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) was missing from the Qualifying sessions (and indeed the race) as he took compassionate leave due to the tragic passing of his cousin Dean Berta Vinales, last weekend.
Q2 saw a surprise lap from Luca Marini (Ducati), which took him through to Q1 where he finished 9th on the grid.
But it was a third pole in a row for the other impressive Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia. Putting in a time of 2:02.781 over Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) in second and Marc Marquez (Honda), who took last place on the front row of the grid.
It was the first time back on American soil since the pandemic struck. It should have been wonderful news but for many riders it caused some grievances – mainly due to the ever-deteriorating track conditions. It had become even more bumpy and the track surface even poorer, with visible differences in tarmacked sections. Some riders had even gone so far as to say that if the track wasn’t fixed they would not return next year.
Regardless of the track conditions, Marc Marquez was determined to win again at the Austin track. He gave himself the very best of starts, flying straight into first from third. Leading Quartararo and Alex Rins (Suzuki).
Lap 2 of 20, saw Jorge Martin (Ducati) pass fellow Ducati rider Bagnaia and gain fastest lap in the meantime. At the other end of the pack though Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) took a tumble on turn 12, but managed to continue on into the race, finishing 17th.
Lap 3 saw Jack Miller (Ducati) pass Brad Binder (KTM) and Joan Mir (Suzuki) for a place behind teammate Bagnaia, taking fastest lap from Martin soon after. Would Miller decide to remain behind Bagnaia or try to pass?
Gaps started to appear quite early on in the race with the Spaniard out on his own from Frenchman, Quartararo, then Martin and Rins. Marquez was out to prove that he could still conquer at COTA.
The leading riders had all chosen to use hard front tyres and soft rear tyres, except the Australian Miller, who had opted to ride with two hard tyres. Was there something that Jack knew and the others didn’t? Or was he gambling on his tyres having something extra towards the end?
Lap 5 saw Johann Zarco (Ducati) leave his race early and crash out turn 1. While teammate Martin passed Rins again, after losing an earlier battle between the two. He quickly started to pull away from the Suzuki and put some pressure on Quartararo, who was still in 2nd.
It was then time for Miller to make his decision and on lap 6 he passed Bagnaia. Could he use his tyres and get near to the top four? Rins was soon in his sights and Miller quickly passed him for fourth place.
With 12 laps remaining the gap grew bigger still between first and second, with Marquez constantly doing metronomic laps from Championship leader Quartararo. The gap became 1.736 seconds.
It was a disastrous weekend for Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro, after having crashed numerous times over the weekend, he crashed once more- lap 10, turn 13, ending his race early.
Also half-way through the race Bagnaia passed Rins for 5th, knowing he needed to gain some more points on Quartararo for his championship hopes to stay alive. Was it too little too late?
Meanwhile, still leading, Marquez was busy proving all the doubters wrong about his physical abilities and was still gaining a lead over Fabio. Having created a 2.930 second lead. Quartararo stated that “it tastes even better than a victory” to remain in 2nd, knowing that he still had a lead over closest championship rival, Bagnaia.
Lap 13 saw Jack be the ultimate team-player and let Pecco past for 4th place. Having the precious championship points in mind for both Ducati and Bagnaia. Perhaps he was also having tyre issues with his choice of both hard Michelins, as soon after Rins passed him for 5th.
Continuing to put in impressive laps, Marc was stunning audiences with his continuous lead extension, up to 3.499 seconds from Fabio.
Bagnaia had another Ducati rider in front of him by lap 17, in the form of Jorge Martin. Speculation occurred when Martin went wide and soon after Bagnaia passed him to get the last podium position. Was this a purposeful maneuver from Martin? Or just a simple mistake? Whatever the reason Bagnaia went through while Martin received a long-lap penalty for cutting turns 4 and 5.
Marquez had increased his lead even further and was 4.512 seconds ahead of Quartararo, who was also 4.513 seconds ahead of the two Ducati’s of Bagnaia and Martin. Martin decided to take his long-lap penalty and came back on track behind Rins for 5th place. Becoming the top independent race finisher. Mir nudged past Miller and in doing so Enea Bastianini (Ducati) passed them both to take 6th spot.
Marquez sailed over the finish line for his 7th win at the Circuit Of The Americas and for Honda’s 450th Premier Class podium. Celebrating in style with a tribute to the late Nicky Hayden #69.
Marquez was certainly back on form and was impressive from lights out.
Race Results (Top Ten):
Even though Mir passed Miller on the last lap, the stewards demoted Mir one place for irresponsible riding (results above include this decision).
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) also picked up the last point and set fastest lap during the last lap.
Championship Results Update:
With only three races left until the end of the season. Could we see Quartararo wrap up his championship next time out? Will Marquez continue to improve? Or will we see another new race winner for the year?
(Featured image- Courtesy of: Moto GP Twitter page).
Always in our thoughts: Dean Berta Vinales. Taken too young.
The Superpole race saw vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) claim the win followed by Redding (aruba.it Ducati) in 2nd and Baz (go eleven Ducati) 3rd.
Lights out for race 2 and its Redding with the hole shot into turn 1, followed by the Pata Yamaha team mates of Locatelli and Razgatlioglu. Rea (Kawasaki KRT) was a man on a mission, already up to 3rd, from a grid position of 10th. It was Redding, followed by Locatelli 2nd, Rea 3rd, Razgatlioglu 4th, Bassani (motocorsa Ducati) 5th and vd Mark 6th.
With 18 laps to go, Rea blasts past Locatelli down the straight to take 2nd, then cuts up on Redding down the sweeping left hander to take over the lead for the first time.
Next lap, and Rea subsequently loses his lead to both Redding and Razgatlioglu down the straight. Rea now in 3rd. Further back it was Locatelli 4th, Rinaldi (aruba.it Ducati) 5th, Bautista (HRC Honda) 6th, Baz 7th and vd Mark who had a terrible start, was now languishing in 8th.
With 16 laps to go, Razgatlioglu tries to out brake Redding into turn 1 but locks up the front, which allows Rea space to pass. Following corner, and this time Redding runs wide, again Jonny capitalises and retakes the lead for the 2nd time.
With 15 laps to go, Rea puts in a fastest lap of 1:41.942. Again as in race 1, it is this group of title contenders pulling away from the rest. Razgatlioglu finally does make his move on Redding, moving up to 2nd and is now 0.3 behind Rea.
With 13 laps to go, Razgatlioglu passes Rea down the straight, the Kawasaki suffering from a lack of top end speed in comparison to the Yamaha R1. Toprak is next to post a fastest lap of 1:41.522, but Rea is able to stay right on his wheel. Meanwhile Bautista has moved up to 5th.
With 9 laps to go, Razgatlioglu loses the front end of his Yamaha into the high speed turn 15, nearly an identical crash to Rea in race 1. The Yamaha flying into the gravel. The Turkish rider is able to get onto his feet, but his race is over. Redding meanwhile, is starting to lose touch with Rea, the gap now 1.1.
With 7 laps to go there was a three way battle for 3rd between Locatelli, Bautista and Baz. Both of them subsequently passing the Italian. It was Baz 3rd, Bautista 4th and Locatelli 5th.
Last 2 laps remaining, and Rea has increased his lead over Redding to 2.6 and looking comfortable at the front. Meanwhile Bautista makes a lunge from along way back into turn 5 on Baz, who then makes contact with Bautista and subsequently punts him off the track.
Rea crosses the line for his 13th win at Portimao, followed by Redding 2nd, Baz 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Gerloff 5th and vd Mark 6th.
Toprak Razgatlioglu claimed victory in Race One in Portimao after a thrilling race.
Superpole saw Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) claim top spot with an unbeaten lap of 1:40.219, followed by Rea (Kawasaki KRT) 2nd and Haslam (HRC Honda) in 3rd. The WorldSBK show would be bidding farewell to Europe after this weekend of racing ahead of the international races in Argentina and Indonesia.
Lights out and it was Razgatlioglu with the hole shot into turn 1, but he gets mugged by Jonathan Rea straight away after drifting wide. All the while Scott Redding (aruba.it Ducati) now in third is watching the action unfold in front of him. It is Razgatlioglu, followed by Rea in 2nd, Redding 3rd, Haslam 4th, Rinaldi (aruba.it Ducati) 5th and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) 6th.
With 19 laps to go, Razgatlioglu again drifts wide into a corner, opening the door for Rea, who doesn’t hesitate and dives up the inside. Toprak is having none of it and forces his way up the inside of Rea the next corner, the two riders coming together and swapping paint. Only lap 2 and the “red mist” has already descended on these two title contenders, the action really heating up now.
With 18 laps to go, Redding puts in a fastest lap of 1:41.719, the pace of the front three already distancing Haslam and the group behind. Rea tries the same move on Razgatlioglu, this time making it stick to take the lead. Now it is the turn of Redding, who uses the slipstream of the two bikes in front to power past both of them into turn 1 and take over the lead for the first time. It was breathtaking racing and as dramatic as the whole season has been so far.
With 17 laps to go, it is the turn of Rea to put in a new fastest lap of 1:41.645 and he held a gap of 1.6 to Haslam behind in fourth. Further back it was Rinaldi 5th, Locatelli 6th, Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 7th and Baz (go Eleven Ducati) 8th, (still riding for the injured Chaz Davies. )
Rea then moves from 3rd to take the lead; both Redding and Razgatlioglu had gone wide in the previous corners and Rea was looking fired up. And then into the high speed turn 15, huge drama as Rea loses the front of his Kawasaki at around 150 MPH, viciously sending it cartwheeling down the track and into the gravel. Amazingly he gets back onto his feet, very lucky to walk away from a scary crash seemingly unhurt.
With 13 laps to go, Redding and Razgatlioglu had continued to pull away from the rest, the gap now at 4 seconds, There was now a large group of five riders who were all battling it out for 3rd. It was Haslam 3rd, Rinaldi 4th, Locatelli 5th, Baz 6th, Gerloff 7th, Bautista (HRC Honda) 8th and vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) 9th.
A lap later, Bautista, again as in Jerez, was showing great pace late on and had moved up to 6th.
With 10 laps to go, Razgatlioglu makes his move on Redding into turn 1, coming from a long way out and out brakes the Ducati rider. Toprak looks to have the pace to push on further, while Redding looks to just be hanging on.
Shortly thereafter into turn 5, Locatelli runs into the back of vd Mark, taking them both out. The Dutchman was understandably furious as he was making good progress.
Into the final four now, and Redding has closed right onto the back of Razgatlioglu, but he can’t find a way past the Turkish rider on the brakes. He would have to find another option to have any chance of the win.
Last lap and Toprak now held a gap of 0.3 to Redding, but could he hold off the charging Ducati behind? Meanwhile further back it was Bautista and Baz fighting it out for 3rd.
Razgatlioglu crosses the line to take the win, holding off Redding who takes 2nd, Baz 3rd, after Bautista crashes into the last corner. Rinaldi 4th, Haslam 5th, Gerloff 6th and Bassani (motocorsa Ducati) 7th.
Track temperatures were now in excess of 40 degrees Celsius as the track had been heating up during the day. As the Superpole race had been cancelled, positions on the grid were the same as for race one.
Lights out and its Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) yet again with the quickest start off the line to get into turn 1 ahead of the others. Followed by Rinaldi (aruba.it Ducati) in 2nd, Rea (Kawasaki KRT) in 3rd, Redding (aruba.it Ducati) 4th and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) in 5th.
Toprak was looking keen to get away but the Ducati team mates of Rinaldi and Redding were looking good in the higher track temperatures, as they had in Navarro earlier in the season. So too the Honda team mates of Haslam and Bautista in 6th and 7th, were looking much better.
With 18 laps to go Rea looked to be losing time and now had Redding pass him to demote the Irishman to 4th. Locatelli was now eyeing up the Kawasaki ahead of him.
With 17 laps to go, Redding puts in a fastest lap of 1:40.776 and was looking to make a move on his team mate . Meanwhile Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) loses control of his bike into turn 6 and that spells the end of his race.
With 15 laps to go Redding makes the move on Rinaldi up the inside into the last corner to take 2nd. Meanwhile further back Locatelli cuts up the inside of Rea to take 4th. Rea was really struggling to get his Kawasaki stopped into the hard braking corners and was losing ground, with Bassani (motocorsa Ducati) right behind.
With 12 laps to go Redding had closed the gap down to Toprak to 0.4 and was looking comfortable in the warmer conditions. Further down the field it was vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) in 8th, Baz (go eleven Ducati) 9th and Laverty (BMW Motorrad) 10th.
With 10 laps to go, the gap between Razgatlioglu and Redding was further closing with the gap now 0.3, meanwhile Rea was still holding off Bassani for 6th.
With 8 laps to go Bautista (Honda HRC) had now caught up to the back of the Rinaldi, Locatelli group but went too hot into a corner going wide and losing time.
With 7 laps to go, Locatelli gets by Rinaldi into turn 6 to take 3rd. Bautista was showing great late race pace and was looking for a way past Rinaldi who was dropping back looking to be suffering from tyre wear issues. Bautista does make the pass and takes 4th.
With 4 laps to go, Razgatlioglu goes slightly wide into a corner, leaving space for Redding to drive the Ducati up the inside and take over the lead for the first time. Meanwhile it was now the turn of Bassani (motocorsa Ducati) to go past Rinaldi for 6th, Rinaldi who was continuing to lose ground had previously been passed by Rea who was now in 5th.
With 3 laps to go, Bautista goes through on Locatelli. Meanwhile at the front Razgatlioglu retakes the lead diving under Redding into the last corner. The Yamaha showing how much better it could turn in comparison to the Ducati.
Last lap and would Redding be able to retake the lead? He was lining up Toprak and looked to be gaining momentum through the last series of corners it could be a last corner pass as it has been so often here at Jerez.
Razgatlioglu holds off Redding and crosses the line to take the double win this weekend. Redding 2nd, Bautista 3rd.
Superpole on Saturday, saw Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) claim pole with a fastest lap of 1:38.512, with the Kawasaki KRT team mates of Lowes and Rea in 2nd and 3rd.
Track conditions were near enough perfect for race 1 with a mix of tyre choices throughout the grid. Toprak going for the softer SCX rear tyre, while Rea went for the harder option. After the tragedy yesterday in the Supersport 300 race there was definitely a sombre mood over the grid with riders all deep in their own thoughts before the start.
Lights out and its Razgatlioglu with the hole shot up into turn 1, followed by Rea in 2nd, Rinaldi (aruba.it Ducati) 3rd, Lowes 4th and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) in 5th. Rea is not hanging around and dives underneath Razgatlioglu, hoping to get away early.
Next lap and Locatelli has moved up to 3rd, Rinaldi went wide into a corner and loses a position, while Redding (aruba.it Ducati) is 5th Lowes had a terrible start and now finds himself slipping back to 8th. Special mention for Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad) who is back racing on Tom Sykes’s bike, who misses the race due to injury last week and is in 13th.
With 19 laps to go Redding moves past his team mate not wanting to lose touch with the group up front. Further back its the Honda team mates of Haslam and Bautista in 6th and 7th respectively, vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) in 8th and Lowes who continues to slip back, is now in 10th.
With 18 laps to go, Rea puts in a fastest lap of the race with a 1:39.837 no doubt trying to break Razgatlioglu behind. This relentless pace being set was distancing everyone behind, except for Locatelli in 3rd who was trying to hang on.
With 16 laps to go Rinaldi loses control of his Ducati sending it sprawling down the track and ploughing into the gravel. His race is over.
With 14 laps to go Razgatlioglu comes from a long way out into the Pedrosa corner, turn 6, but is unable to get it stopped in time and runs into the back of Rea. Fortunately both riders are able to stay upright, but this gives Rea extra incentive to get away from the Turkish rider.
With 12 laps to go, Baz (go eleven Ducati) who is riding Chaz Davies’s bike, also out due to injury, moves up to 7th. Meanwhile Haslam is falling back and now in 9th. Redding in 4th, initially looked to have the pace to catch Locatelli in 3rd but now seems to be unable to gain any more time on the Italian rider.
With 7 laps to go, Razgatlioglu makes his move on Rea, diving up the inside into turn 1. Another tough pass but that is how the Turkish rider races and it would not have been a surprise for Rea who would be looking to respond.
With 4 laps to go Razgatlioglu now held a gap of 0.8 to Rea in 2nd and was looking comfortable in the lead. Meanwhile Locatelli was still holding onto 3rd with Redding in 4th.
Last lap now, and Redding has closed right up to Locatelli, he makes the move using the power of the Ducat and takes 3rd. Further back vd Mark is trying to hold of Bassani (motocorsa Ducati) who has shown great late race pace for 7th.
Razgatlioglu crosses the line for the first win of the weekend followed by Rea in 2nd, Redding 3rd, Locatelli 4th, Bautista 5th, Baz 6th, vd Mark 7th and Bassani in 8th.
Thankfully we had blue skies and the sun was out for dry racing conditions on Sunday. For the Superpole race, Rea (Kawasaki KRT) decided on the harder Sc0 tyre, while most of the other riders went for the softer ScX rear tyre. After a restarted race due to a crash and subsequent red flag, Rea went on to take his first win of the weekend followed by Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) in 2nd and Bautista (Honda HRC) in 3rd, who takes his first podium of the season.
For race 2, the riders were barely off before a big incident at turn 1 involving Sykes (BMW Motorrad) and Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) saw the race red flagged for the second time today. It was decided the restarted race would be brought down to 19 laps.
Lights out for the shortened race and its Razgatlioglu with the hole shot down into turn 1, followed by Rea in 2nd, Rinaldi (aruba.it Ducati) 3rd, Bautista 4th and Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) in 5th. Redding, as in race 1, was down in 10th.
Track temperature was around 40 degrees Celcius and the riders knew the second half of the race would be crucial in terms of managing tyre wear. Only the Ducati team mates of Rinaldi and Redding had gone with the harder Sc0 rear tyre, while everyone else went with a softer option.
With 17 laps to go, it was Rinaldi who set a new fastest lap of 1:42.566 and he was breathing down the neck of the Turkish rider in front after powering past Rea down the straight.
Next lap and Redding was now up to 6th and, as he had in race 1, he was now finding his groove and looking ready for a fight. Bautista was in front of Redding and feeling more confident on his Honda after his podium in the Superpole race. Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was in 7th and trying to hang onto the group in front of him.
Lap 6 of 19 now, and Rinaldi finds a way past Razgatlioglu and holds a lead of 0.4. Rea was in 3rd and Locatelli was in 4th, followed by the group of Bautista, Redding and Gerloff who was starting to slip backwards.
Redding was desperate to get past Bautista and tried several times to dive up the inside of the Honda rider although every time he tried, he was way too hot into the corner going wide which allowed Alvaro to respond and retake the position back.
With 11 laps to go Rea was dropping back to Locatelli, no doubt suffering tyre wear issues. Both Bautista and Redding were doing faster lap times and would soon catch him. Meanwhile further back it was Bassani (motocorsa racing Ducati) in 8th, Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 9th and vd Mark (BMW Motorrad) in 10th.
With 9 laps to go, Redding takes both Bautista and Rea, the latter who had himself been passed by Locatelli and was dropping back like a stone now really struggling with grip.
With 8 laps to go, Razgatlioglu fights back and dives up the inside of Rinaldi into turn 6 to retake the lead. If he was also suffering with tyre wear, the Yamaha rider was definitely handling it better. However the harder tyre choice seemed to be working very well for both of the Ducati riders.
With 5 laps to go, Rinaldi out brakes Razgatlioglu down the long straight and into turn 1 to retake the lead. The two holding a gap of 3 seconds to Locatelli in 3rd.
Three laps to go and Rinaldi was pulling away from Razgatlioglu and now held a gap of 1.5 to the Turkish rider. Meanwhile Redding moves up the inside of Locatelli down into turn 1 and was now hunting down the Yamaha rider in 2nd.
Onto the last lap now and Redding was within a second of Razgatlioglu. Further back Rea was still holding onto 6th, with Gerloff in 7th. Toprak was definitely falling back but would there be enough time for Redding to catch him?
Rinaldi crosses the line to take the win followed by Razgatlioglu who holds on for 2nd, Redding 3rd, Bautista 4th, Locatelli 5th, Rea 6th, Gerloff 7th and Bassani 8th.
And the result means Razgatlioglu retakes the top spot of the championship yet again, this time by a single point. This season is going down to the wire and is still too hard to call.