The first race of the Gaerne Estoril Round proved to be a thrilling spectacle that ebbed and flowed throughout between the leading trio at the Circuito Estoril as Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed his second MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship win of the season with the top three separated by less than one second.
Redding and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) both got a good start but it was the Ducati of Redding who got the jump on Rea on the opening lap before Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) was able to jump Rea into second place. As Redding and Razgatlioglu broke away at the end of the opening lap, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was able to fight with Rea to pass him on Lap 2, although Rea responded the following lap to move back into the podium places. The trio battled it out throughout the race, with Rea on the SC0 tyre and both Redding and Razgatlioglu on the SCX tyre.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) got a good start on his SC0 tyres, one of only six riders to start on that tyre, to move from seventh into fifth on the opening lap before moving down the order as riders who had lost positions through Superpole times being deleted made progress; Mahias would eventually finish in 13th place.
Although the battle for the lead settled down in the middle stages of the race, Rea’s SC0 tyre appeared to hold on more throughout the 21-lap race as he put pressure on Razgatlioglu in the latter stages. Rea was able to get a run on Razgatlioglu on the start and finish straight, although the Turkish star was able to keep the position on the brakes into the right-hander of Turn 1.
It means Redding claimed his first back-to-back wins following his Race 2 victory at the Aragon Round last time out, while Rea stepped onto the podium for the 189th time in his WorldSBK career; while it’s Kawasaki’s first podium at Estoril since 1993.
Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished fourth after fighting back through the field after losing out at the start, including a battle with Rinaldi in fifth; Gerloff passing the Italian rider in the latter stages of the race to claim a top-four finish. Rinaldi was unable to keep his pace going throughout the race and dropped four seconds to Gerloff at the end of the race but was able to finish ahead of Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) in sixth.
Dutch rider Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) battled from outside the top ten to claim a seventh place finish as the new BMW M 1000 RR showed strong pace yet again, ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) after the Spanish rider started 18th following his Superpole time being deleted. Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) claimed his best WorldSBK result to date with ninth while Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) secured a top ten finish after losing out in the early laps of the race.
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), the youngest rider on the grid, was another rider who had a Superpole time deleted but the Italian rider was able to come home in 11th place and take home his best WorldSBK result to date, five seconds clear of Leon Haslam (Team HRC). Mahias finished in 13th place with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in 14th despite the British rider moving up the order in the early stages before falling back down. Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed the final point available in Race 1 with 15th place, finishing one second clear of Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action).
Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) came home in 17th place on his first visit to Estoril on WorldSBK machinery, while Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse), who had made progress from 13th on the grid to run in the top seven lost the front of his BMW M 1000 RR at Turn 4 when battling with van der Mark, forcing the Irishman to tumble down the order although he was able to rejoin the race. At around the same time on Lap 9, another rider who was making up ground, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) crashed at Turn 7 as he also lost time after fighting from tenth. Like Laverty, he was able to rejoin the race to finish ahead of Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing).
Samuele Cavalieri (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) was one of two retirements in the race following a crash at Turn 7, while Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) was the second retirement of the race.
P1 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“I felt pretty good. I wasn’t really confident before the race because I saw Toprak had quite good pace earlier in the weekend and the two Kawasakis were quite strong today, so I was not really confident. I just said ‘ok, get the start, go to the front and you’re going to have to muscle your way around a little bit’. I was quite good but a couple of small mistakes I was making into Turn 1 were costing me about two tenths that I would gap and then lose it again. In general, quite happy. The tyre kind of worked okay. I went off the start and then I realised I choose the SCX. I was a little bit in panic for a little while, but it stayed quite stable and I think I was quite lucky because Torpak had the same tyre, only Jonathan with the SC0. It was good and it kind of paid off here because it was not so abrasive. We’ll see tomorrow, maybe we’ll try the SC0.
P2 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK)
“Today, I had a really good start in the race, but I tried to follow Redding because he was really fast, and his sector two times are incredibly fast but I tried in the race just to close the gap. On the last laps, my tyres had a big drop but I was fighting again for first place but not enough. On the last two laps, I see Jonny and I’m pushing again for second because I need these points, I need good points for the Championship. We are happy because again we’re on the podium, but we will see tomorrow because I like this track, I need the win.”
P3 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“I only came through really once; I was alongside into Turn 1 but he’s braking too dept but not losing too much either so kudos to them. Also, Scott in the front. Just when Rinaldi came past in the beginning I just lost touch with the group and I had to work really, really hard to get back on them. It’s like 360 degrees from me because I’ve never been on the podium here, last year was a nightmare, so we’re really making steps and hopefully we can make some small changes for Race 2 tomorrow.”
WorldSBK at Circuito Estoril – Race 1
1. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +0.877s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.915s
4. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +9.518s
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +13.636s
6. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) +17.177s.
Championship Standings (after Race 1, Round 2)
1. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (73 points)
2. Scott Redding (GBR) Ducati (65 points)
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) Yamaha (50 points)
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of WORLDSBK.COM