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 crashed 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 Michael van der Mark’s BMW, causing both riders to retire from contention.
Locatelli and Razgatlıoğlu will be back in action tomorrow morning for a quick Warm-Up session from 09:00 (GMT+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.
For Race 1 results, click here.