October 02 2021
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlıoğlu extended his lead in the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship to 45 points with an incredible win in Race 1 of the 11th round of the championship at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve today.
Having achieved his second pole position of the season (on the bounce) this morning, the team’s Turkish sensation went on to play an epic game of “cat and mouse” with both main championship rival Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Ducati rider Scott Redding for the lead.
It looked set to be race-long three-way battle until Rea suffered a scary crash at Turn 15 on the fifth lap of the race, leaving Razgatlıoğlu and Redding to daringly trade places on the rollercoaster Portimão circuit for the remaining 15 laps.
In another last-lap WorldSBK thriller, it wasn’t clear until the final sector if championship-leader Razgatlıoğlu would be able to cross the line first – as he finally managed to pull a small gap from the hard-charging Redding to win by 0.691s at the chequered flag.
The team’s rookie Italian rider Andrea Locatelli recovered from a crash in this morning’s Free Practice 3 session to qualify seventh on the grid for Race 1. “Loka” was right in the middle of the group fighting for third place honours, until a rare mistake where he could not get his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK stopped into Turn 5 meant that he clipped the rear wheel of the BMW of Michael van der Mark, causing both riders to retire from contention.
Locatelli and Razgatlıoğlu will be back in action tomorrow morning for a quick Warm-Up session from 9:00-9:15 (UTC +1) before the 10-lap Superpole Race at 11:00 and final European race of the season, a 20-lap Race 2 at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P1
“Race 1 was not easy because Jonathan and Scott are very strong here. Also after Jonny crashed, we are fighting with Scott and for me it was not an easy race to win. I am happy, because again we could win, but I say again this was very difficult! I was feeling like we did not have enough because the Ducati was very fast on the straight, but I think tomorrow we can improve some points and we will be coming back again stronger. Every race we are improving, also this morning we improved my bike because yesterday I was not feeling really good, but now the bike is much better. So thanks to my team for this hard work, I am happy for the 11th win! I am still not looking at the championship, it’s not good that Jonny crashed but also we are pushing very hard on track, trying everything only to win. I am happy that he is ok, I know he is coming tomorrow stronger, I hope we can also improve my bike again tomorrow and that we will be fighting again with him and Scott for the win.”
Andrea Locatelli: DNF
“First of all, I’m so sorry with Michael because I made a mistake. I wanted to try and close the gap and go in front because I lost many positions during one mistake in the first corner. I am also sorry for the team because I felt today we can do some good results. The first part of the race was not easy for me to stay on the back of Honda and Ducati, and we lost the front group but this is the race and for sure tomorrow we are ready. I’m not happy about today because I made a mistake also this morning, so we will see tomorrow but overall we are stronger and faster – today is just a mistake and the feeling for tomorrow is good and we will continue in this way.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK:
“Toprak rode an incredible race and managed to secure an important victory, but I think it was maybe the most difficult one of the year – and meant him riding to his limits and beyond to make it happen. It was impressive – and a little stressful – to see that he had no intention of settling for second position and 20 points. You can only be impressed by the show he and Scott put on over the course of the last few laps today. An unfortunate end result for Loka, he really doesn’t make that many mistakes and this track is a very tricky one the first time on the superbike. He’s built up really well over the weekend and looked like he would be in the fight for the final podium spot but it wasn’t meant to be. As a team, we also need to say sorry to Michael who was caught up in Loka’s accident, but most of all to say it was a huge relief to see Jonathan stand up and walk away after that monumental accident. This was a massive relief and we hope he’s fully fit to fight again tomorrow.”