World Superbikes: Toprak Razgatlioglu extends lead over Jonathan Rea with French double

Toprak Razgatlioglu
Toprak Razgatlioglu has won nine World Superbike races this season

Toprak Razgatlioglu has extended his lead at the top of the World Superbike standings after beating Jonathan Rea in the second feature race at Magny-Cours.

Just like in the earlier Superpole sprint race, the two title protagonists swapped positions several times in a thrilling battle.

Yamaha rider Razgatlioglu held on to complete a double and move seven points clear of six-time champion Rea.

Ducati's Scott Redding was third and is now 75 points behind the Turkish rider.

Razgatlioglu and Rea have been the leading contenders throughout the season and were level on points heading into the weekend in France.

Rising star Razgatlioglu, 24, took the chequered flag in the opening two races, but was demoted behind Rea in Sunday's earlier Superpole race following a marginal track limits infringement on the closing lap.

Starting third on the grid for Sunday's feature race, Alex Lowes split Razgatlioglu and Rea after the start, but the Northern Irishman pulled a bold pass on his Kawasaki team-mate to go with the Turkish rider.

On the second lap, Rea jumped up the inside of his rival to take the lead, and seconds later Lowes crashed just behind the leading pair to allow Redding into third.

Rea swapped positions on several occasions with Razgatlioglu. The pair almost almost collided on lap six when Rea ran the Yamaha ran wide after an attempted overtake.

Razgatlioglu made the decisive pass with 11 laps to go as he made a late move at the hairpin stick, and Rea, despite several attempts to respond, had to settle for second behind his rival.

Rea finished 2.9 seconds back as his tyres faded in the 21-lap race, with Redding 8.4 seconds further back for his first podium of the weekend.

Italy's Andrea Locatelli was fourth for Yamaha ahead of Welsh rider Chaz Davies, who was the top independent rider on his Ducati. Honda's Alvaro Bautista, Ducati Michael Ruben Rinaldi and BMW's Michael van der Mark rounded out the top eight.

I was on the limit - Rea

After finishing second for the second time in France, Rea said he felt good and "didn't want to let go of that one".

"I threw everything at it. I was way over my limit on all those fast corners and my front and rear were sliding," added Rea.

"That is what it takes. Toprak is doing an incredible job, congratulations to him and his team. We are making steps in the right direction.

"I'm on my limit, and we need to make it a bit more comfortable and I feel like I am extracting everything out of the bike right now. It's fun, but it's not enough to win at the minute."

There are five more rounds scheduled in the 2021 season but there are question marks surrounding the final two events of the season in Argentina and Indonesia because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

World Superbike Championship standings
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Tur)Yamaha370
Jonathan Rea (GB)Kawasaki363
Scott Redding (GB)Ducati298
Andrea Locatelli (Ita)Yamaha186
Alex Lowes (GB)Kawasaki176
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ita)Ducati172
Tom Sykes (GB)BMW159

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport