REPORT: Toprak triumphs in final corner, Rossi-style showdown with Bautista in Superpole Race

Anyone who is hasn’t watched anything from the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship or read anything about it should probably start now. The Pirelli Catalunya Round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya gave its second final lap showdown of the weekend with an absolute hair-raiser between Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati), which went to the final corner of the race.

FROM THE START: Crucial early stages as good starts prove vital

Off the line, it was another poor start from Championship leader Nicolo Bulega, whilst it was the traditional fast-starting Andrea Iannone who grabbed the holeshot from Race 1 winner Toprak. Alex Lowes was a big mover on the opening lap, up into contention. Sam Lowes was also a fast starter once again in second and hit the front at Turn 9. Bulega tried to fight back into Turn 1 to get ahead of a charging Alex Lowes and did so but Lowes retaliated at Turn 3.

Changing backwards and forwards, the race really exploded into life on Turn 5. Sam Lowes had been dropped down to P5 but at the front, the gloves came off as Razgatlioglu, Iannone, Alex Lowes and Nicolo Bulega battled side-by-side through Turn 5 up until Turn 9, when Toprak took two in one move to lead. Iannone settled down but as was the case in the early stages, the #11 Bulega struggled in battle.

SECOND HALF BATTLES: an absolute classic into the final laps

Bautista made his way into the podium places on Lap 7 when Iannone ran wide at Turn 10 and then battled back ahead of Bulegas, putting the reigning WorldSSP Champion wide and allowing Bautista into third. Toprak however was leading and looking comfortable, even if Bautista managed to get ahead of Iannone with 3 to go, with the top four covered by a second into the final lap.

Making his move for the lead, Alvaro Bautista hit the front at Turn 1, out-braking Toprak but it wasn’t done there; the favourite overtaking opportunities of Turn 4 and Turn 5, it all seemed to rest at Turn 10 but the Turk wasn’t close enough. However, having been so strong in the last two corners yesterday, both riders were evenly matched. Building through the downhill sweep of Turn 13, Toprak made a huge lunge at the final corner to pass Bautista in a replica of Valentino Rossi vs Jorge Lorenzo from MotoGP™ in 2009. Toprak forced Bautista to pick up which allowed rookie Iannone to surge through his fellow Ducati rider but couldn’t quite get Toprak. Two from two, Razgatlioglu doubled up in Barcelona ahead of Iannone and Bautista, with Bulega and Alex Lowes completing the top five.

Sixth place and a solid result for Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), with Danilo Petrucci, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) and Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) the last of the Superpole Race points-scorers. Gardner’s teammate Dominique Aegerter missed out on points whilst Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) went too hard, too soon and finished down in 12th, ahead of Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha), who has still to score points with Yamaha.

Top nine after WorldSBK Superpole Race, full results here:

1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)

2. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) +0.075s

3. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) +0.260s

4. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) +0.411s

5. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.611s

6. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +2.634s

7. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +4.249s

8. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +4.354s

9. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +5.196s

Fastest lap: Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) 1’40.955s – New Race Lap record

EVERY SECOND LIVE: watch all the action from the Catalunya Round with the WorldSBK VideoPass!


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