Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlıoğlu stunned crowds at the UK’s Donington Park venue to take his second win of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship in convincing fashion today.
After steady light rain all morning, and a wet Superpole qualifying session that left the Turkish sensation frustrated to start from 13th, the weather cleared at the last possible moment before the riders took to the grid for Race 1. Predicted thunderstorms did not materialise and all riders reported it would be possible to race on Pirelli’s WorldSBK slick tyre options.
What followed was a masterclass of bike control in the trickiest of conditions – a greasy, damp, but rapidly drying track. It took Razgatlıoğlu just eight corners to progress from the fifth row of the grid to second place behind championship leader Jonathan Rea, and by the start of the second lap he’d overhauled the Northern Irishman for the lead. Building a gap to Rea consistently and setting the fastest lap of the race on Lap 14, Razgatlıoğlu kept his concentration superbly to deliver a relatively comfortable victory, despite running very tight on fuel as he passed the chequered flag.
Teammate Andrea Locatelli, even if by his own admission was less than satisfied, was having his best weekend preparation to date despite never having raced at Donington Park before. The young Italian qualified 11th and ran inside the top 10 until he was caught out on a damp patch on the infamous run down through Craner Curves (Turn 3), ending his race with a spectacular crash just seven laps in.
Both Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK riders will be back on track tomorrow morning with a short 15-minute Warm-Up session at 9:00 (BST) before the 10-lap sprint Superpole Race at 11:00 and Race 2 rounding out the weekend schedule at 14:00.
For Race 1 results, click here.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P1
“This one was nice, to first from 13th on the grid on the second lap! Only one time have I done better, from 17th to first in France… today with Yamaha was far more important though. Earlier today for me was not a good start, I was not fast in wet conditions, so I say to myself “ok, if it is raining – I just ride and try to have a good position for the championship”. But I see a small dry line, and I guess all riders put on slick tyres on the grid, but I know I have just one chance. I needed to get a good position for the team’s home race! First corner I got to fifth position, end of lap one I arrive in second and after I say “this is my race!” and I am pushing all laps. Sometimes, I make some small mistakes and feel very close to a crash! But anyway, we made it happen and I am happy! In 2018 and 2019, I was second position here and this is nice but I say I need to win, I never had a win at this track in WorldSBK and also this is very important for the championship. Now the gap is only 15 points from Jonathan but the season is very long and in all races I need to take good points. My team did a great job today and yes, I will try again tomorrow! The weather will be important and maybe tomorrow it will be raining, but I will try to make the best race possible again.”
Andrea Locatelli: DNF
“I am so sorry for the guys and also for myself because I wanted to make a good result today and I thought it would be possible. The conditions were not so easy when we started the race, and the feeling on the bike was not easy. In the end, after seven laps I crashed because I ran a little wide and arrived at high speed on a section that was not completely dry. Tomorrow we have another chance and I am sorry for the team that they now have to work to build a new bike! It is not normally how we end the day. In qualifying it was difficult in the wet, but also it is still only my first time here in Donington and for sure it is not easy at this track – but we are happy because 11th position is not so bad and maybe tomorrow in the Superpole Race we can try to fight and see what is possible.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“Honestly, to call that race “surprising” is not strong enough! The performance level of Toprak, considering the grid position, was just ridiculous! The first two laps were equal of anything I have ever seen in bike racing and after that Toprak controlled the race in a manner that we didn’t think possible this morning after wet qualifying, or possible in the dry conditions – yesterday, Toprak wasn’t as comfortable as we’d like and he rode an untested setup in the race today with the target to improve on the FP2 feeling. Clearly the bike worked well! But, the rider delivered something different again, this was his race. I can only say congratulations to Toprak and to everyone in his crew for another incredible performance! We did certainly get a bit lucky after far higher fuel consumption than expected from Friday’s data saw Toprak run dry at the flag, but equally Jonathan was lucky not to crash after a few very close shaves in today’s race, so we’ll take that slice of luck with pleasure! Andrea has had a strong weekend here at Donington Park, and his best Friday of the season so far yesterday, but just got caught out on a damp patch down Craner Curves which resulted in a huge accident but luckily no injury. He hasn’t crashed at all at any race event so far this year, so it’s something that is always going to be possible at some point. We’ll build him a new R1 WorldSBK ready for tomorrow and try again!”