Dramatic racing, incredible battles and more featured throughout Race 1 at the French Round
The first race of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours delivered action throughout the 21-lap encounter with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) taking victory with an incredible performance of pace and consistency to win by more than four seconds as he gained a five-point swing over nearest rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at the Motul French Round.
THE TOP TWO BATTLE IT OUT IN THE EARLY STAGES
Razgatlioglu got a good start and took the lead through Turn 1 but soon found himself shuffled back thanks to the run down to the Turn 5 hairpin of Adelaide. He responded when Rea took the lead and made a move on Lap 4 at Adelaide to reclaim the lead of the race before he was able to pull out enough of a gap to keep Rea at arm’s length.
Rea was able to respond as the laps progressed, closing the gap to just a couple of tenths but could not make a move stick before Razgatlioglu extended his lead out in front to more than a second ahead of Rea, holding on to secure his second victory in a row following on from his win in Race 2 at Navarra. Rea’s second place extends his winless drought to seven races since he won at Assen in Race 2. Razgatlioglu showed remarkable consistent pace throughout the 21-lap encounter, always lapping in the 1’37s bracket and he also becomes the first Yamaha rider to take 18 podiums in a single season.
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) claimed his third podium in WorldSBK with third place after he got a good start to the race to move up the field from fifth place, before battling the even faster-starting Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) for fourth place; eventually passing the Italian at Turn 5 on Lap 12. He then gained a position on Lap 17 when Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) crashed at Turn 8 on Lap 17, forcing the British rider out of the race. It meant Locatelli was able to claim third place with Rinaldi being promoted to fourth.
COMPLETING THE TOP TEN
Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) claimed fifth place after battling from ninth on the grid, with the Dutchman enduring a difficult morning with no running in Free Practice 3. He finished two seconds clear of Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) in sixth place as all five manufacturers were represented in the top six.
There was a stunning battle for seventh place during the race between numerous riders which came down to the final chicane. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) came home in seventh place with rookie Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finishing eighth and ninth. Leon Haslam (Team HRC) rounded out the top ten after starting inside the top six as the British rider fell back throughout the latter stages of the race.
American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed 11th place, behind the incredible battle for seventh place, just two tenths away from Haslam. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) started from eighth place and was unable to fight his way through the field as he fell back down through the order to take 12th place despite a Lap 19 crash as he looked to make a move on Sykes at Turn 13; Redding making no contact with Sykes but coming off his bike before he re-joined the race. Local rider Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport – Yamaha) was 13th at his home round as he claimed more points for his campaign, finishing less than a second ahead of Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team), with Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) rounding out the points.
Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) had a difficult race but came home in 16th place while Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) had a battle for 17th place that went down to the line; the duo separated by just 0.082s as Nozane beat Cresson. Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was the only other retirement apart from Lowes after he crashed out Turn 13 in the early stages of the race.
The top six following Race 1 at Magny-Cours, full results here:
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.467s
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +10.285s
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi +13.283s
5. Michael van der Mark +15.535s
6. Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +17.824
Fastest Lap: Toprak Razgatlioglu – 1’36.937 (New Lap Record)