After a week of glorious sunshine in the Algarve, rain greeted the WorldSBK paddock this morning at the Portimão circuit, throwing another dynamic into an already tense event. The 10-lap Superpole Race was held under full wet conditions, with Locatelli and Razgatlıoğlu taking measured approaches to bring their R1 WorldSBKs home in fourth and sixth place respectively, ready for the main points-paying Race 2.
As the weather cleared, Race 2 delivered another thrilling battle between Razgatlıoğlu, Jonathan Rea and Scott Redding where the three protagonists, each on different machinery, battled it out.
Razgatlıoğlu was denied the chance to fight for another victory when his front mudguard detached from its mounting and caused him to crash at high speed in Turn 15, at the end of Lap 10. Yamaha’s engineers and the team will mount a full investigation into the cause of the failure, and ensure a counter-measure is introduced before Free Practice 1 at the next race event.
Compensation was left in the hands of the team’s young Italian rider, Locatelli, as he held on for another fine fourth place finish in the 19-lap feature race. Following revised Race 2 results, “Loka” was awarded the third-place podium position and is now equal on points with Michael Ruben Rinaldi for fourth in the championship.
Yesterday’s Race 1 win was Yamaha’s 300th podium in WorldSBK, and extended the record for the number of podiums in a year for a Yamaha rider (25). Regardless of today’s DNF result, Razgatlıoğlu could also have the opportunity to break 2009 WorldSBK Champion Ben Spies’ record for most wins on a Yamaha (14) before the end of the season.
In just eight days the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK team will begin the long journey to Argentina for the 12th round of the championship and the first “fly away” round for WorldSBK this year.