The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s first ever race at the Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic fired up on Saturday and was a thrilling spectacle across the 22 laps of the new venue. After Rea crashed twice, it was a head-to-head grandstand finish between Razgatlioglu and Redding, with the Turk coming out on top in a final lap thriller.
The gap between Redding and Razgatlioglu was now down to under a second as Lap 13 started, but Lap 14 would see a major moment for the race and an even bigger moment for the Championship. Jonathan Rea, chasing Toprak, tucked the front from third at Turn 1, just as he and Razgatlioglu were edging closer to Redding. Rea remounted in the blink of an eye, circulating in 11th but with eight to go, he had a chance of a top ten finish.
The tyres were now coming into play in the final six laps, as Razgatlioglu with the SCX tyre was now right with race leader Redding, who in-turn was setting a strong pace. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who was having a quiet race in sixth, also began setting his personal best lap and sector times, also on the SCX tyre. There was also a big battle for fourth, as Axel Bassani was giving Rinaldi something to think about.
With five to go, Rea crashed again, this time heavily at Turn 20 but the Championship leader was up on his feet. Meanwhile, in a titanic fight at the front, Razgatlioglu went around the outside of Redding at Turn 14 with four to go, before Redding blasted back ahead at Turn 1 a lap later. The gloves were off as the passionate Most fans were on their feet, with WorldSBK putting on a stunning spectacle in the first WorldSBK race at the track.
The last lap was upon the leading two and Redding rode a fantastic first half a lap, but Razgatlioglu was relentless in the final two sectors, as he made a bold move at Turn 15 but ran wide. Everyone sat back, thinking Redding had the race done but a stunning run through Turn 16, 17, 18 and 19 brought Razgatlioglu back into contention and he lay it all on the line, putting on a thrilling move at Turn 20, running Redding wide. Redding powered the Ducati to the line out of the last corner and closed right in, but it was too late. Razgatlioglu took one of his finest wins, with Redding in second and Andrea Locatelli taking third, some 13.8 seconds behind.
P1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK)
“I am really, really happy because, for me, it’s not an easy race. Every lap I’m pushing, I’m trying not to make a mistake. I won. I try every corner but I’m really happy because I need this position for the Championship. I’m really happy for my team because this weekend they did an incredible job. Tomorrow, I try again.
P2 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“I know he was further back, he was not next to me, and to make a move when I was already almost had my knee to the floor… come on, a bit of respect. Just try and keep it fair. Two times, he did it. I almost knew he was going to do it, so I anticipated it but if I committed, we both would’ve crashed. I don’t think that’s very fair racing but if he wants to race like that, so be it.”
P3 Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK)
“It’s really amazing to have the second podium. These guys are so amazing, we worked very well, and we did a really good job today. It’s just Saturday and we are really fast. For tomorrow, we can improve a little bit more because the race wasn’t easy today but, for sure, tomorrow we can try to make a little bit more of a step. I’m really happy.”
WorldSBK Autodrom Most – Race 1
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK)
2. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.040s
3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +13.838s
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +16.650s
5. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +16.935s
6. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +17.099s.
Championship Standings (after Race 1, Round 6)
1. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (243 points)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) Yamaha (231 points)
3. Scott Redding (GBR) Ducati (182 points).
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Dorna WSBK Organization Srl