Weather was again a factor in the Superpole race earlier in the day, giving the riders a lot of doubt when it came to tyre choice, some going for an intermediate option, and others preferring slicks. Jonathan Rea ( Kawasaki Racing Team KRT) finished the 10 lap shoot out fastest, with the BMW teammates of Tom Sykes, and Michael van der Mark finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
By the time race 2 started the weather had cleared up, with the sun back out. As in race 1, Rea was again with the hole shot into turn 1 followed by Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) who had moved up from 6th place on grid, and Sykes (BMW) in 3rd. Garrat Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) again was having an impressive weekend, in a solid 4th place.
Rea was trying to put the hammer down early on, but Razgatlioglu was responding with a series of fastest laps 1:28.452 and 1:28.418. With 20 laps to go Toprak Razgatlioglu made the same move, and in the same place on Rea as he had done in race 1. Rea now using the soft X tyre choice was finding better traction, and was able to stay with the Pata Yamaha rider, not letting him clear away as was the case in race 1, and keeping the gap to 0.2.
Further down the field, Lowes (KRT), and Van der Mark (BMW) were resuming the tussle they had in race 1, coming into contact again with each other, in the battle for 6th and 7th places. Redding (Aruba.it Ducati) was making steady progress from a grid position of 11th and now found himself in 8th.
Nearing the halfway point in the race, and Razgatlioglu goes wide into a corner, Rea accepting the open invitation, goes through to retake the lead. Jonas Folgers’ weekend goes from bad to worse, as he adds another DNF to it.
Gerloff now within striking distance of Sykes, gets by on him. Then with 13 laps remaining, absolute disaster for Rea who ran into turn 8 too hot, lost the front end and unceremoniously dumped his KRT machine into the gravel. He had looked comfortable in front, but the pressure from the Turkish rider behind was telling. Incredibly he picked up his bike, and rejoined the track in last place, with a mountain of work to do if he was to take any points away.
It was now Razgatlioglu clearing away out front, followed by Gerloff 2nd, Sykes 3rd, Redding 4th, and Lowes in 5th. Redding was making good time, and had closed right down on Sykes in 3rd. Further back, Lowes and Van der Mark were still battling it out for 5th place.
Inside the final 3 laps now and the gap between Sykes 3rd, and Redding 4th, was now down to 0.563. Would there be enough laps left for Redding to make the pass? Rea had not been able to make up any time, and was still languishing at the back of the field, no doubt frustrated at how his final race of the weekend was turning out.
Final lap now, and with a gap of 2.9 back to the Texan in 2nd place, Razgatlioglu would not be caught, unless something major happened. Redding now right on Sykes, and looking for a way past, runs out wide into the Melbourne Loop and with it his chance for a podium place.
With enough fuel left in the tank this time, Razgatlioglu crosses the finish line to become the new championship leader, with it becoming the first ever Turkish rider to lead a WorldSBK championship. Gerloff gets his best ever finish in 2nd, and Sykes takes 3rd. Rea completes his miserable race in 20th.
Top 10 result:
- Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha)
- Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
- Sykes (BMW)
- Redding (Aruba.it Ducati)
- van der Mark (BMW)
- Lowes (Kawasaki)
- Davies (Ducati)
- Rinaldi (Ducati)
- Haslam (Honda)
- Bautista (Honda)
Top 5 Championship
- Razgatlioglu 183 points
- Rea 181
- Redding 117
- Lowes 114
- Rinaldi 94
See you for round 5 of the WorldSBK championship in two weeks from Assen.