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Yamaha Lead Riders’ WorldSBK Standings After Winning Weekend at Donington Park

Yamaha Lead Riders’ WorldSBK Standings After Winning Weekend at Donington Park

For round four of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK and the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team enjoyed a fruitful return to Donington Park, with Toprak Razgatlıoğlu twice winning to take the lead of the riders’ championship, while Yamaha closed the gap to the top in the manufacturers’ standings.

Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager, Andrea Dosoli, oversaw Razgatlıoğlu’s superlative performances, which included leading home GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff on Sunday for Yamaha’s first 1-2 of the season, while the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup returned for round two, providing more exciting action for the British fans.

After qualifying a disappointing 13th in wet conditions, Razgatlıoğlu amazed the entire WorldSBK paddock in Race 1, climbing to second by the time the field had reached Coppice, taking the lead off Jonathan Rea a lap later, before cruising to victory. Sixth in the 10-lap Superpole Race gave him an improved grid spot for Race 2, and after battling with Rea once again, Razgatlıoğlu came out on top, giving him the championship lead.

“Overall it’s been a fantastic week for Yamaha, starting with the renewal of Toprak’s contract announced on Friday morning,” Dosoli said. “The win in Race 1 and with Yamaha finishing 1-2 on Sunday, we could not think of a better way to end the weekend. It’s nice to see the double win from Toprak, showing his speed at a track he likes. He perfectly managed the races after a difficult Superpole, which forced him to start from the fifth row. He confirmed his maturity in the Superpole Race, where he made no mistakes on his way to sixth to give him a better start for Race 2. 

“It’s the first time in a long time that Yamaha leaves a round on top of the riders’ championship, so I’d really like to thank Toprak and the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK team for making this happen. A special thanks also goes to the Yamaha engineers, we proved again that the R1 works well on another track and in different conditions to what we’ve seen so far this year. Now we are close to the top of the manufacturers’ standings and will continue to push at Assen.”

American rider Gerloff had never ridden at the legendary Leicestershire circuit, but that didn’t stop him going fastest of all on Friday. Starting from fifth, the 25-year-old was on course for a podium in Race 1, but a fall saw him drop back. Gerloff still managed to recover to seventh, backing that up with fifth in the SPRC. Race 2 was where Gerloff really made the most of his potential, battling to finish second, his best-ever feature race result.

“Congratulations to Garrett, who did a fantastic job to be fastest on Friday, despite having never been to Donington before, which just shows how much talent he has,” Dosoli said. “He recovered well after the disappointment of Race 1, where he had the chance to be on the podium. He had a fantastic result on Sunday – he lost a little bit of time at the start of Race 2, but was able to match Toprak’s times as he got into some clear air, so we’re really pleased with his performance.  It’s the best result for him in a long race, so again well done to Garrett and the whole GRT Yamaha team.”

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s Andrea Locatelli was caught out by a damp patch in the first race and fell heavily at the fast Craner Curves, but enjoyed a better outing in the SPRC, where he climbed into the points in ninth. He ended his weekend with an 11th-place result but took many positives away. Meanwhile, GRT Yamaha’s Kohta Nozane unfortunately had to withdraw from the weekend after Free Practice 1 due to a distal phalanx fracture on his right middle finger sustained at the Navarra test. 

“Despite a huge and really scary crash in very tricky conditions in the first race, Locatelli did well to come back today with consistent pace in Sunday’s races,” Dosoli said. “The team were really impressed with his pace on Friday, considering he had also never raced here before, so we know the potential is there for him to make that extra step forwards. We are sorry for Kohta Nozane not being able to take part in the weekend, but it was the right decision to allow him to fully recover before the next race.

“Now we have a few weeks before we head to Assen, it is still very early in the championship, but we’ve managed to learn a lot last weekend. We will look at all the data and use this to be in the position to fight at the front again when we return.”

In the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup, the 25 young riders got their first experience of racing in the wet in this championship, and it was 14-year-old Spaniard Juan Antonio Conesa Benito who took victory in Race 1, ahead of fellow countryman Iker Garcia Abella and Italy’s Edoardo Colombi. Home star and pole-sitter Fenton Harrison Seabright won the second race, ahead of Julian Giral and Garcia Abella, the latter leaving the UK with the championship lead.

“It has been an emotional weekend watching the young riders in the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup, who were able to learn and ride at such an incredible track,” Dosoli said. “The circuit offers many challenges, but the young kids were able to put on another great show in front of the fans. It was nice to see Juan Antonio take the victory, he is only 14 and demonstrated experience beyond his years to stay calm in difficult conditions. It was also nice to see Fenton win in front of his home crowd, he rode very intelligently in the second race and recovered well after falling in the opener.

The world championship paddock will next head to the TT Circuit Assen (23 – 25 July), where the FIM Supersport World Championship and FIM Supersport 300 World Championship will be back in action, while the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup will return at Most, Czech Republic (6 – 7 August).