Toprak Razgatlioglu wins Jerez opening race
After the death of Supersport 300 driver Dean Berta Vinales on Saturday, the WSBK organized the first long distance race of the weekend on Sunday morning at the same time slot as the now canceled Superpole race.
Starting from pole position, Razgatlioglu took the lead in Turn 1 for Rea and his Yamaha teammate Andrea Locatelli, but was passed by the six-time WSBK champion in the long left-hand corner of Turn 4.
Razgatlioglu continued to keep the pressure on Rea for the next dozen or so laps after dropping to second place, not allowing the Kawasaki rider to move away from the front of the pack.
The two championship protagonists collided on lap 7 when Razgatlioglu dived inside Rea in the hairpin at Turn 6 and hit the back of his Kawasaki, but both riders were able to continue without any visible damage on their motorbike.
The decisive gesture of the race came at the start of lap 14 when Razgatlioglu was able to brake Rea on turn 1, taking the lead for the first time since lap one.
Rea was unable to keep up with the pace Razgatlioglu was showing in the clean air, allowing the Turkish pilot to take the checkered flag just over half a second and claim his ninth victory of the season.
It was the last time Razgatlioglu came out on top in a direct fight with Rea, but the two riders were only six points apart before the last race of the weekend.
Scott Redding completed the podium on the factory Ducati after overtaking Locatelli’s second Yamaha on the last lap of the race, passing the rookie WSBK on the right-hand bend of Turn 6.
Honda’s Alvaro Bautista moved from ninth place on the grid to fifth place at the flag, making four different manufacturers in the top five.
Former MotoGP rider Loris Baz impressed upon his return to WSBK in the Go Eleven Ducati normally ridden by Chaz Davies, finishing sixth as the best independent rider.
Behind, Michael van der Mark was the best BMW rider in seventh place after edging Alex Bassani’s Motocorsa Ducati by just 0.090 seconds at the flag.
Alex Lowes had a tough first lap on the second of the factory Kawasakis, moving from the front row of the grid outside the top 10. He recovered enough to clinch ninth place, just ahead of Garrett’s Yamaha GRT. Gerloff.
Leon Haslam started ahead of his teammate Honda Bautista in eighth position, but finished in 11th place after being passed by Gerloff 11 laps in the race.
Replacing Tom Sykes injured following the Briton’s crash in Barcelona last week, Eugene Laverty finished 12th on the second of the factory BMWs.
Three riders failed to complete the weekend’s opening race, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi being the most prominent retiree after losing the front of his Ducati while braking at Turn 3 while in the top five.