The gloves look like they’re about to come off in France, with the top 12 riders on Day 1 covered by less than three quarters of a second.
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s opening day of action from the Motul French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was electric as the top three in the Championship went head-to-head. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was on fire as he stormed to the top of the standings, with Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in second and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in third. The afternoon’s session was dry, having been damp in FP1 in the morning.
At Yamaha, it was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) who was flying the flag. Razgatlioglu put in a long stint on the same tyres and set 11 mid-1’37s out of a 13-lap run, showing his sensational consistency as he led the way for the main portion of the session and continued to improve his pace. Come the end of the day, it was Razgatlioglu who was fastest overall, whilst Locatelli ended up in 11th, as he continues to get used to the R1 around the French circuit.
Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was up inside the top six as he continued to get to grips with the Magny-Cours circuit in the dry conditions for the first time in his career. Having been inside the top two positions for the last seven races, Redding is coming into the Motul French Round in fine form and was good in the mixed conditions in the morning. Redding finished the afternoon in second with teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi down in ninth, with work to do for the Italian.
The Kawasaki pairing of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes were in good form as they took to the dry Magny-Cours circuit. Rea set a consistent pace and for the majority of the session, was sitting well inside the top five, whilst Lowes was also right with his teammate. The British duo worked away hard until the end of the session, before finishing third and eighth respectively, having been first and third in the morning’s damp-but-drying session. Rea’s in-touch with his Championship rival Razgatlioglu, but the Turk’s pace might well be giving him the edge over the race distance if conditions are to remain the same across Saturday and Sunday.
WorldSBK at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours – Friday
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 1’37.138s
2. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.208s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.288s
4. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) +0.334s
5. Leon Haslam (Team HRC) +0.407s
6. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.469s
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