MIXED CONDITIONS MASTERCLASS: Razgatlioglu beats Bautista in Assen classic, Gardner claims first rostrum

Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) claimed his first win at the TT Circuit Assen in sensational style after some mid-race rain provided plenty of excitement for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field. The Turkish star started from ninth on the grid but made quick progress to be in the podium fight, before battling with reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) for victory during the Pirelli Dutch Round in WorldSBK’s 950th race.

A QUICK START: Razgatlioglu charges, Locatelli challenges

When the lights went out, Bautista got a great start from first on the grid, as did teammate Nicolo Bulega next to him with the #1 holding on to P1 through the first lap. The rider on the move was Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) as he moved from sixth to second on the first lap and challenged Bautista. However, ‘Loka’ soon found himself behind Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who was determined to claim a first podium and then Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), as the Turkish star battled from ninth to third in the first few laps.

On Lap 6, Razgatlioglu moved into second as he overtook Gardner to move into second place, with the chasing pack generally having more pace over Bautista although the battling costing them time. At the end of Lap 7, Razgatlioglu made his move for P1 by passing the #1 into the final chicane under braking; a trademark move of ‘El Turco’. Rain started to fall on Lap 8 with the white flags shown, signally that riders could change tyres if they wanted, although no one dived into the pits immediately. Elsewhere, Locatelli passed Gardner on Lap 8 for the podium through the chicane, although Gardner responded a lap later, and Bautista re-claimed P1 on Lap 9 with a superb pass over Razgatlioglu.

RAIN STARTS FALLING: mastering the conditions

With the rain falling harder, it was Gardner’s Yamaha machine who had the pace advantage, passing Bautista at the final chicane to take the lead and demote Bautista into second, before Locatelli moved ahead of the reigning Champion. The #55 soon moved into the lead with an aggressive move on Gardner at Turn 8 before Bautista followed him through, with the #1 putting the pressure on ‘Loka’, passing him at the start at Lap 16 when the Italian ran wide. Soon, Razgatlioglu was back in front when he passed Bautista at the Geert Timmer Chicane for the lead, with Gardner all over the pair of them. With four laps to go, the gaps stretched out a little but although everything remained close despite Razgatlioglu edging out a gap. It enabled the 2021 Champion to hold on for victory, his third of the season as well as his and BMW’s first win at the Dutch venue. Bautista took second, moving onto 96 rostrums and three behind Chaz Davies in the all-time list, while Gardner held on to finally take his first WorldSBK rostrum after so many fourth-place finishes and his first in any class since the 2021 Algarve Grand Prix. He became the first Australian on the podium since Misano Race 1 in 2010, when Troy Corser was on the rostrum.

NARROWLY MISSING OUT: Iannone takes top Independent spot, van der Mark penalised

Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) was on the move throughout the race as he moved into podium contention but had to settle for fourth place ahead of Locatelli in fifth despite leading the race at times, finishing just a tenth behind Iannone. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) took sixth place, and he was just a tenth away from the Dutchman ahead, with the Brit taking advantage of difficult conditions to move up to P6. He was initially classified in seventh but a three-second penalty for Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) for not losing one second at the final chicane when he went off the track promoted him into the top six.

FIGHTING BACK: Aegerter into the top eight, Vierge claims P10

Van der Mark’s penalty promoted Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) to seventh place and Bulega to eighth, with the #11 dropping down the order during the 21-lap race despite his strong start. Van der Mark was classified in ninth place following his penalty but crossing the line in P6 will have pleased him and BMW, showing another sign of the progress the German manufacturer has made this season. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) finished as the lead Honda rider with 10th place, equalling his best of the season.

IN THE POINTS: a best of the season for Mackenzie

Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda) surged up the order in the difficult conditions, taking 11th for his best of 2024, finishing only a tenth down on Vierge ahead. He was also two seconds clear of American rider Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) in 12th, with the #31 running in the top ten at points during the race. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) claimed 13th with Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha) in 14th and Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) completing the points-paying positions.

JUST MISSING OUT: Spinelli close to more points, Rea and Lowes collide

Nicholas Spinelli (Barni Spark Racing Team) was just 0.087s from the points in Race 2 but had to settle for 16th in what was an unforgettable weekend for the #24. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) was 17th with Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in 18th; the Italian had a huge moment in the final sector which dropped him down the order.

Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) was enjoying his best weekend of 2024, but it ended in the gravel when he crashed at Turn 17. At the start of Lap 10, Rea and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) collided at Turn 1 to end their progress, with Lowes retiring and taken to the medical centre for a check-up, while Rea re-joined in 20th and last before he fought back to claim 19th, ahead of Adam Norrodin (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda).

The top six from WorldSBK Race 2, full results here:

1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)

2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.625s

3. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +1.022

4. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) +3.120s

5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +3.217s

6. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) +5.174

Fastest lap: Remy Gardner, Yamaha – 1’34.295s

Championship Standings:

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 123 points

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 117

3. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 109

4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 93

5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 64

6. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) 64

Misano is up next! Don’t miss any action from the classic circuit using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

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