More, from a press release issued by Dorna WorldSBK Press Office:
Bautista claims WorldSBK Race 1 victory as Rea & Razgatlioglu crash out from the lead battle
There was drama everywhere you looked in Race 1 as Bautista extended his Championship lead…
Race 1 highlights – WorldSBK
P1 – Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
Taking the lead of the race on Lap 7 of 21, Bautista claimed his first win at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours.
He increased his Championship lead to 56 points over Rea.
“I saw Jonathan crash, and then Toprak made some mistakes and then went into the gravel, so I decided to stay calm and not make mistakes, just to finish the race and get a good feeling with the bike. Lap by lap, I started to feel better and better and decided to try and get the lead, get my pace and push to my feedback. I did a couple of good lap times to get some advantage with Scott, and then in the last laps I just had to manage the distance. It was an important victory especially here at a track that is never good for us.”
P2 – Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team)
Battling at the front with Bautista, Redding took second place, his best result so far with BMW.
Redding’s Race 1 podium was his 40th in the Championship.
“It was a good day. I was really happy with the front row. In the race, I got a good start and I felt strong and I thought “let’s go” and let’s get stuck in from the start. And then it just went wild for a few laps. I think I took the lead at some point, and then Toprak came and passed me, and then Jonathan passed me, and then Jonathan crashed out … and I was pushing again to catch up Toprak. Then I looked ahead, and he was just bucking and bucking and bucking. Then I found myself in the lead, and I thought ‘stay calm, push, find your rhythm’. I did what I could. I had Alvaro catching me. I tried to fight with him for as long as possible. I did what I could. And then I had Alvaro catching me. I tried to fight with him, but it was impossible.”
P3 – Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing)
Bassani benefitted from Rea, Razgatlioglu and Baz going down to finish third and claim his second WorldSBK podium.
It was Bassani’s first podium in dry conditions as he took third place
“Finally, we got a podium! It’s really good for me and the team; we made good work this weekend and I’m really happy! I want to enjoy the moment and nothing more. Now is the moment to push and to try and continue in this way. It will be difficult but we’re here for this and we will try. It’s really important for me to beat the other Ducatis, especially the factory Ducati. I think it’s normal; I want to continue in this way and I hope it’s possible to beat Alvaro and not just Michael.”
P4 – Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
Lowes finished just outside the podium to claim his best finish since Donington Race 1.
“I’m disappointed with my race. I felt like my pace in practice was good. In Superpole, I did four laps the same but I couldn’t do one lap that was good enough to be on the front row. I was so expecting to be on the front row. Then in the race I felt good, I just couldn’t get pass Rinaldi at the start. He was passing on every corner. The Ducati is so hard to race against. 10 laps sort of messing around… I’ve lost my rhythm a little bit. But I came back at the end. Fourth place. There were some parts of the track where my bike was working really well and I was able to capitalise on that. I’ve felt like I could have done better but we have two more chances tomorrow and I’ll try to get a podium.”
P5 – Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
Running Pirelli’s new development soft front tyre, Gerloff dropped back as the race progressed to cross the finish line in fifth place.
“It was nice to be top five in Superpole and then top five in the race. It’s my best of the year and I hate saying that because I was hoping that already we would be on the podium by now but it’s going the right way. I’ve felt good all weekend. As soon as we got here everything seems like it was working very well.”
P6 – Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
While battling for third place with Bassani, Rinaldi went through the gravel on the exit of
Turn 1 and through Turn 2 on Lap 14. He was able to recover to finish in sixth place.
“We had a really good speed today. It was a strange race today because we usually don’t see Toprak and Jonny make this kind of mistakes. Anyway, I felt good on the bike during the race. I was fighting a lot with Lowes in the first laps, then I was able to put my pace, catch Bassani and then my aim was to also overtake Baz, but he crashed out. I was then third and I saw Scott and I thought we could make a 1-2 today. But unfortunately, I had a problem with the gear box on the bump, and I went on the gravel which make me loose the podium. We can improve from today and I think that a podium is possible tomorrow.”
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) crashed on the exit of Turn 17 at the end of Lap 2. He was able to re-join the race to finish 24th. Rea’s crash extends a winless run to 10 races; his worst since 2019 when he went 11 races without a win. Discussing the crash, Rea said: “It’s frustrating because the crime didn’t really fit the penalty. I was in the last chicane. Just got caught out. Part of my front fork sensor touched the kerb on the left, just enough to pick up the front. Such small margins to put me down. My bike was pretty bent, so I tried, on the side of the track, bend the handlebars as quickly as good. It was so bent I needed to put it into position. I had to stop in the pitlane. The guys adjusted it and we were able to do the rest of the race, so we got 20 laps of data.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) also crashed out in the early stages of the race at Turn 13. He was able to continue to cross the finish line in 11th place. Reacting to wild Saturday, Razgatlioglu said: “We started really well in the race, but just the big problem for me is the braking. In the race, I’m always changing the setting for the brake lever. I arrived at Turn 11, and I felt the brake lever was very close with my finger. At Turn 13, I’m feeling my finger and the brake lever very close. I tried to brake the same as Turn 11 but the brake lever came more open, I felt too much braking and the rear went up.”
Local hero Loris Baz was fighting for a podium position but crashed at Turn 13. He was able to re-join the race to take 14th position. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished in the top 10.
WorldSBK action resumes on Sunday from 09:00 (Local Time), followed by Tissot Superpole Race at 11:00 and Race 2 at 15:15.