Rapid Rinaldi takes stunning Catalunya Race 2 win, Razgatlioglu reclaims Championship lead.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi returned to the top step of the rostrum with victory after a tyre gamble in Race 2.
Race 2 for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a dramatic encounter with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claiming victory after a long battle with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) reclaimed the Championship lead by a single point with second place.
The Red Flags were thrown on Lap 2 of the 20-lap race following an incident involving Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK) at Turn 1. Sykes was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash but was conscious. He was diagnosed with a head injury and concussion and transferred to Catalunya Hospital for further assessments.
The new race distance of 19 laps got underway with Rinaldi a fast starter as he moved into the lead of the race ahead of Razgatlioglu (and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Razgatlioglu was able to go with Rinaldi throughout the 19-lap encounter but Rea started to drop back. Razgatlioglu and Rinaldi pulled away from Rea with Rinaldi. The Turkish star was able to pass Rinaldi to take the lead of the race, but this lasted for just a handful of laps as Rinaldi responded into Turn 1 with a handful of laps remaining, before extending his lead.
With Rea battling to stay on the podium, he had to fight to keep Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) behind him but his attempts proved to be in vain with the Italian rookie getting past on lap 10 before Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) followed him through. At the start of Lap 18, Redding made a move on Locatelli into Turn 1 for third place with Redding using the SC0 tyre, along with Rinaldi, while his rivals were on the SCX tyre. Bautista followed Redding through a lap later at the same corner. It meant Rinaldi claimed his first win since the Tissot Superpole Race at Misano, and the first time Rinaldi, Razgatlioglu and Redding shared the podium. Bautista just missed out on a podium place with fourth place, with Locatelli in fifth.
P1 Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“I’m so happy about today because it was hard to make the tyre choice. Everybody was with the soft one but last year I lost a lot in the last laps. Me and Scott were the only ones with the hard one. We made a good start and then I battled with Toprak. At the end, I had the drop, but he dropped more than me. I was riding smoothly trying to get to the end. I’m happy. After bad races, we needed a weekend like this. Really thankful to my team because they always believe in me. It was up and down during the year but the closest ones are always with me, so I want to thank them. Now we are going to Jerez with better spirit.”
P2 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
“Today, I’m very lucky because I passed Michael and after my tyre had a big drop. The last three or four laps, I was fighting for second position because he went alone. I’m really happy and very lucky because we didn’t have one more lap, and if we had one more lap maybe I would’ve been fifth or sixth. We are happy to be on the podium again. For me, it was a very strange weekend. Yesterday, we had an electronic problem. I was very fast and I was going to win but we faced the electronic problem. Today, I did my best again. It wasn’t an easy race because front sliding, front tyre finish and also rear tyre. I think it was a problem for all riders.”
P3 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“To be honest, I thought I had one more lap! When I saw Toprak, I thought ‘set him up for the straight’ so I don’t stress the bike too much. I saw the flag and thought ‘no way’. It happens, it was a good race. I would’ve been happy with a top five. A good start before the restart. Restart, back to position, go again. I struggle on second starts back to back, so the start wasn’t great. Got pushed back a little bit. Got my head down and started finding my rhythm. I didn’t feel comfortable, I just felt stable the whole race. This was good because last year I had a big drop. The SC0 seemed to pay off. We were risking but we were forced into that decision, we didn’t have another option. It was a blessing in disguise, so I was happy with that. It was an up and down weekend.”
WorldSBK Results Race 2
1. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +3.030s
3. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +3.207s
4. Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +3.415s
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +4.306s
6. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +7.733s
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