Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) completed a double at the Circuit de Nevers Mangy-Cours in 2023 after claiming victory in a dramatic Tissot Superpole race for the Pirelli Round of France. The #54 finished ahead of MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship rival Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) after the reigning Champion made contact with teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi mid-race, with the #1 able to continue before finishing second.
‘TITANIC TRIO’ RETURN TO FRONT ROW: Razgatlioglu wins, Bautista crashes with Rinaldi
Bautista got the holeshot early in the race, but his lead didn’t last long as Razgatlioglu moved from third to first in one fell swoop at turn 5 of the second lap, overtaking both factory drivers Ducati braking in the Adelaide hairpin. Rinaldi then moved ahead of teammate Bautista at Turn 11 on the same lap to take second, with Bautista appearing to struggle to find pace in the opening laps before starting to fight back. On lap three, Rinaldi overtook the Yamaha star at turn 6 and stayed there until turn 5 on lap 5.
Razgatlioglu looked to pass Rinaldi on lap five for the lead, with the defending champion following the #54 and making contact with teammate Rinaldi. The Italian got off his bike and withdrew from the race. He was taken to the medical center for a check-up and later declared fit, while Bautista continued the race. The incident was investigated by the FIM Stewards, with no further action taken. After initially falling behind the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK machines of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes, Bautista quickly moved up to second after passing Rea, while Lowes brought his machine back to the pits to retire.
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The No. 1 set a string of race lap records to close the gap to his title rival, but the 2021 Champion took victory by a second to become the first driver to win four consecutive races at Magny -Course, while Bautista won his 80.th podium. Six-time champion Rea held off a late charge from Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) to claim third place and his 258th podium and its 20th in the emblematic French place.
FIGHT THROUGHOUT THE RACE: little to separate the starters from the second row
Locatelli finished fourth after missing out on the podium by just 0.244 seconds while Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) continued his impressive run in fifth, six tenths behind his compatriot Locatelli. The fight for sixth place went down to the wire with Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) overtaking Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) at turn 5 on the final lap to secure a second row start for the Race 2.
AN EPIC FIGHT: from 19th in eighth place for Bassani, Oettl narrowly misses
Baz will start Sunday afternoon’s race from seventh ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in eighth, with Aegerter, Baz and Bassani separated by around half a second. The No. 47 made a memorable comeback during the Superpole Race after starting from 19th after going through a difficult Friday and Saturday, before securing a place on the third row to try to finish the French round in style. The fight for the last place on the third row between Xavi Virginie (Team HRC) and Phillip Oettl (Team GoEleven) was played out until the end, with Virginie holding just ahead of the German.
INTERVIEW: BMWs collide on the first lap…
After starting from pole position, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) fell back in the standings before pulling away slightly, with Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) hugging the curb. The two men made contact and fell in the gravel, the incident was investigated by the FIM Stewards and the #45 was given a penalty for long lap. Gerloff returned to the box but withdrew from the race.
The top nine of the Tissot Superpole Race, full results here:
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)
2. Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.970s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +2.503s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +2.747s
5. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +3.376s
6. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +6.406s
7. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) +6.658s
8. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +6.959s
9. Xavi Virgo (Team HRC) +8.322s
Fastest lap – Alvaro Bautista (Ducati), 1’36.084s, new lap record
Don’t miss Race 2 starting at the NEW time of 3:15 p.m. local time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!