A FIRST BMW VICTORY FOR TOPRAK: Razgatlioglu hunts Bulega down and wins final-lap showdown in Barcelona

Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) claimed a hard-fought Race 1 win at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to secure his first victory with BMW in just his fourth race, after hunting Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) down in the closing stages to take a sensational victory in a last-lap fight. It ends a run of 902 days without victory for BMW, while it also moved the #54 into third in the all-time podium list with 117 following his success during the Pirelli Catalunya Round.

FIGHT FOR VICTORY: last-lap fight

It was a disastrous start to Race 1 for Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) dropping down to last and pulling into the pits at the end of the opening lap. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) got a mega start from the second row to launch into victory contention and, after hounding Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) for the first two laps, made the move on the inside of Turn 5 to take the lead, and lead his first laps in WorldSBK in just his fourth race.

Once the #14 got away from Razgatlioglu, he opened a gap to the #54 but his race ended at Turn 10. He lost the front of his V4 R at the left-hand hairpin and crashed from the lead and handing P1 to Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who, after losing ground at the start, picked off his rivals one-by-one to move back towards the front.

With his competitors battling behind him, Bulega started checking out in front with incredible race pace, often lapping in the high 1’41s or low 1’42s in the first half of the race. He was able to open up a four-second lead just over the halfway stage. In the second half of the race, Bulega was lapping around half-a-second slower than Razgatlioglu as the 2021 Champion closed the four-second gap to 2.6s at the start of Lap 18. At the start of the final lap, it was down to less than a second and the #54 was able to make the race-winning move at Turn 5. Razgatlioglu held on for victory with Bulega second, and the #11 claimed the Championship lead despite losing out on P1. Razgatlioglu joins an elusive club of riders who’ve now won with three different manufacturers, having tasted victory with Kawasaki, Yamaha and now BMW.

FIGHTING FROM 14TH: Bautista on the podium despite fifth row start

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was penalised in the Tissot Superpole for slow riding on the racing line, dropping him from P11 to P14 on the grid. However, with his strong race pace in hand, the #1 fought back to claim a podium on home soil as he passed his rivals one-by-one to move up the order, including sensational moves in the final sector. He passed Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) on the run between Turns 13 and 14, before overtaking Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) through the final corner. The rookie was unable to hold off Bautista and finished in fourth, three seconds behind him after losing ground then the factory Ducati passed him. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) was the highest-placed Yamaha rider in fifth, finishing almost 1.3s down on Iannone and having a similar margin to Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who fought for the five position in KRT’s home round.

INSIDE THE TOP TEN: moving forward during Race 1

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) had looked like he’d be in the podium fight but lost ground in the closing stages, eventually being classified in seventh but less than a second behind the #22 of Alex Lowes. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was able to maintain a place in the top ten as he finished P8, with Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in ninth. The Dutchman, in the opening stages, was fighting in the top four but his pace dropped off and he eventually finished almost 17 seconds down on the race win. Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) made gains in Race 1, finishing tenth and only six seconds down on his teammate.

INSIDE THE POINTS: a disappointing result for Team HRC

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing), a race winner at this circuit previously, was 1.7 seconds away from a top ten finish as he came home in P11, beating Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) by half-a-second. The two Team HRC riders finished in 13th and 14th, led by Iker Lecuona ahead of Xavi Vierge, with only0.039s separating the two Spaniards. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was the last points scorer.

MISSING OUT: classified but no points

Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda) was just outside the points-paying positions as he finished two seconds away from Gardner ahead of two more Brits: Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) in 17th and Bradley Ray in 18th. Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha) was 19th with Adam Norrodin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda) and Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) completing the classified riders; Rabat was given a three-place penalty following Superpole for slow riding on the racing line.

The top six from Race 1, full results here:

1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)

2. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.868s

3. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +5.338s

4. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) +8.543s

5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +9.818s

6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +11.190s

Fastest Lap: Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) 1’41.440s

Watch the Tissot Superpole Race on Sunday at 11:00 Local Time (UTC+1) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

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