Razgatlıoğlu’s podium was almost compromised before the race started, as a hectic Superpole session saw the Turkish gun uncharacteristically crash at Turn 16 without having banked a qualifying lap. With the clock ticking down, he recovered his #54 Yamaha R1 WorldSBK from the low-side slide and returned to the pit box. Following a monumental repair effort from the whole Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK crew, completed in less than six minutes, Razgatlıoğlu left pit-lane with three minutes to go in the 15-minute session – enough to set one flying lap time, and deliver an astonishing P2 time just 0.186s from pole.
The battle for Race 1 honours was ultimately a three-horse race, as championship protagonists Razgatlıoğlu, defending champion Jonathan Rea and Scott Redding broke away from the pack. While 24-year-old Razgatlıoğlu was able to fight with Rea for the lead in the opening stages, a faster-than-anticipated drop in front tyre grip meant he was left going toe-to-toe with the Ducati of Redding for the runner up position until the race was red-flagged on lap 19.
Razgatlıoğlu was less than satisfied with the result, but teammate Locatelli took great confidence from both his seventh position in Superpole and overall Race 1 performance – finishing only six seconds from the winner with a relative race pace faster than the leading riders in the closing laps.
Tomorrow will be a different day in many ways, with thunderstorms and rain forecast around the same time as both the 10-lap sprint Superpole Race at 11:00 (CEST) and the final full-length Race 2 scheduled at 14:00. There will be one chance to test different setups prior to “lights out” with a short 15-minute Warm Up session starting at 09:00.
For full Race 1 results, click here.