Editorial Note: Jonathan Rea clinches his sixth FIM Superbike World Championship.
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More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
#EstorilWorldSBK – Day 2
Commanding Rea crowned 2020 World Champion as Razgatlioglu claims Estoril victory
History maker Jonathan Rea wrapped up his sixth consecutive WorldSBK title with a stunning fightback as Toprak Razgatlioglu takes Race 1 win
The records and the Championships keep coming for Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) as he secured his sixth consecutive MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, although the wait will go on for his 100th win as Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) took a stunning victory for the Pirelli Estoril Round at the Circuito Estoril, while challenge Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) retired from the race with a technical issue.
Razgatlioglu made a good start from pole position and held first place as he converted his first career pole into his second win of the year; following on from his victory at the season-opening Australian Round. He was joined on the podium with Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and American Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) as they fought off Rea to secure a podium place.
Rea started from the middle of the grid following a crash in the Tissot Superpole session but soon found himself inside the top ten as he gained an impressive eight laps on the opening lap, and quickly improved his position on the follow lap as he passed teammate Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) at Turn 1 to move into the podium places.
He moved into second place as he made a move on Gerloff into Turn 1 but the American rookie was able to respond a few laps later, after Davies was able to make a move on Rea to move into second place. Rea and Gerloff engaged in a sensational battle for third during the remainder of the 21-lap race; allowing Razgatlioglu and Davies to pull away at the front as they finished first and second. Gerloff moved ahead at Turn 1 on Lap 14 and started pulling away from Rea as he secured his second career podium.
Rea finished the race in fourth place as he lost ground to the riders in front of him but had a large margin over fifth-placed Leon Haslam (Team HRC), who battled hard with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC); the Spanish rider had been fifth until Lap 20 before he crashed out of the race. Lowes finished in sixth place after being unable to catch Haslam on the last lap.
2021 Ducati rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) finished in seventh place, just behind the Lowes-Haslam-Bautista battle but unable to take advantage of the trio battling each other, finishing ahead of Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in eighth and Frenchman Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) in ninth.
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) completed the top ten with the British rider finishing just behind Baz, but 2.5 seconds clear of Jonas Folger (Bonovo Action by MGM Racing) in 11th as the wildcard secured points in his second race of the season, finishing 10 seconds clear of Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team).
Argentinean rider Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) finished in the points as he secured a 13th place finish ahead of Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing HONDA Team) and teammate Eric Granado; the Brazilian finishing in the points in his first WorldSBK appearance of the season. Sheridan Morais (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) finished just outside the points with 16th, with Bautista being classified in 17th place ahead of Loris Cresson (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR).
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) did not finish the race after he crashed out in the second half of the race, with van der Mark not finishing the race after he came off his bike while battling for the podium. Redding retired from the race with a technical issue on Lap 6, effectively confirming Rea as a six-time World Champion as Redding had to win the race, while Matteo Ferrari (Barni Racing Team) did not finish the race.
P1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team)
“Today I’m really happy because this morning we tried a new setup and I felt very good. For me, it was the first time qualifying in pole position. Today was a very good day and we are happy with another win and podium, but tomorrow we will see and try again for the podium.”
P2 Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
“It felt good. The start was terrible but once I got going, it was a bit chaotic early on, but I managed to pick my way through. I was kind of marking van der Mark as we were fighting it out for third in the Championship. When he went down, that took a little bit of pressure off and I was able to run my own race, to find a way through Garrett and Jonny. I kept looking at Toprak, I was sort of hoping he would a bit drop dramatically but he had great pace. He disappeared in the early laps. Very happy with that to lock up third in the Championship. That was the goal this weekend, but I didn’t think I’d get it done today. After all the stress of the last few weeks, it’s nice to get this done and go into tomorrow with a clear head.”
P3 Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team)
“I was definitely trying to be on my tiptoes around Jonny, I didn’t want to cause him any problems or anything like that! I am honestly a little frustrated with myself because in the beginning of the race I was making stupid mistakes and riding like an idiot. I’m not normally like that, I’m normally more consistent so I definitely need to work on that for tomorrow. Really happy to be on the podium again for the whole Yamaha crew and the GRT team. It’s been a really cool last few races and to be back on the podium is nice, but it’s not as nice as the first time! I’m going to have to move up some places to make it even sweeter.”
More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:
Rea Wins Sixth Straight WorldSBK Title!
Jonathan Rea (KRT) secured his sixth successive WorldSBK Riders’ Championship win with a fourth place in the opening 21-lap race of the final round in Estoril, after starting out 15th on the grid. Alex Lowes (KRT) took a fighting sixth place in the race after qualifying seventh in Superpole.
The latest of Jonathan Rea’s six championship wins, all as an official Kawasaki rider, came after some early dramas as he fell in Tissot Superpole qualifying and had to start from the fifth row of the grid.
Moving up to second place long before half race distance on his Ninja ZX-10RR Rea pushed hard inside the podium positions but had to settle for fourth place at the chequered flag.
On the slow down lap he celebrated his latest championship success on track with a golden crash helmet, six ‘Superbowl style’ winners’ rings and special T-shirts for him all his team, marking his remarkable sextet of straight championship victories in memorable fashion.
Rea still has one more major landmark to shoot for in 2020, as a next WorldSBK race victory would make it a magical 100 in all since he first started out in WorldSBK over a decade ago.
Lowes had a tough and determined fight against both the official Honda machines in race one, as he showed his characteristic grit and desire, finishing inside the top six at a circuit completely new to him this weekend.
One ten lap and a final 21-lap WorldSBK race remain for Jonathan and Alex at Estoril on Sunday, with each out to end what has been at times a highly unusual eight round championship campaign with a flourish.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I have no feeling right now; I cannot even look back. It has been an incredible journey this season. I want to thank WorldSBK, Dorna, all the circuits and organisers to even get racing this year. In the middle of what everyone has experienced in 2020 sport always comes second – but we managed to race. I miss the fans here, I miss not having my family and friends here, and all my travelling support from back home in Northern Ireland; I really miss that. They cannot be here right now but it is for all of them and my Kawasaki Racing Team, for keeping pushing this season. We started behind like last year but never gave up. It has been a hell of a journey and I am so happy.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “First of all I am so happy for all the Kawasaki guys and Jonathan. For the whole of KRT, and especially for the guys on his side of the garage. It is so hard to win a world championship let alone six in a row, so big respect to them. I am proud to be part of the team and let’s hope next year we can get involved too and make it a bit harder for him. In Superpole I feel like I did not do a very good lap on the qualifying tyre. There are quite a few corners here that you are on the side of the tyre for a long time and with the Q it just upset the front a bit, which I did not expect. In the race I got a good start but I wasn’t fast enough in the first few laps. I got into a battle with the two Hondas and I felt I was faster than those guys but they kept passing me and I would get back onto them, but and then the same thing would happen again. It was a bit of a frustrating race because I could not find my own rhythm. I feel that if I could have done, I could have got away a little bit.”
Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished in a strong eighth place in race one, with Sheridan Morais (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 16th and Loris Cresson (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) 18th.