Jonathan Rea's title lead cut after runner-up finish at Donington Park
Jonathan Rea’s lead in the World Superbike Championship was cut to 15 points as the reigning champion finished second in Saturday’s opening race of the weekend at Donington Park.
Nearest title challenger Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) produced an outstanding ride to win the race after starting from 13th position, while Rea’s Kawasaki team-mate Alex Lowes completed the podium places in third.
Rea claimed his first pole position start at Donington and led the way until Razgatlioglu, who scythed through the field into second place by the end of lap one, took over on the second lap.
Northern Ireland rider Rea was fortunate to stay upright after a huge moment on lap three at Craner Curves, running onto the grass and losing time. The 34-year-old then had another moment at Redgate, allowing Razgatlioglu to open a further gap.
From that point Razgatlioglu was left with a clear lead and the Turkish rider went on to secure his second win of the season by 2.4s seconds, with Lowes almost 10 seconds further back in third.
Factory BMW riders Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark were next, with Team HRC’s Leon Haslam finalising the top six.
American rider Garrett Gerloff crashed out of third position on the GRT Yamaha and remounted, eventually fighting back to finish seventh.
Eugene Laverty was 13th on the RC Squadra Corse BMW.
The Superpole race on Sunday is scheduled for 11:00 with the final race of the weekend at 14:00.