World Superbikes: Toprak Razgatlioglu regains title lead from Jonathan Rea at Catalunya
Jonathan Rea lost the lead of the World Superbike Championship after struggling to sixth place in the final race at Catalunya in Barcelona on Sunday.
Italy’s Michael Ruben Rinaldi clinched victory on the Aruba.it Ducati from Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha), who now leads the title battle by a single point from six-time champion Rea.
The race was restarted over 19 laps after BMW’s Tom Sykes and Puccetti Racing Kawasaki rider Lucas Mahias crashed at Turn 1 on lap two. Sykes was taken to the medical centre where he was diagnosed with a head injury and concussion, before being transported to Catalunya Hospital for further assessment.
Welshman Chaz Davies was taken to the same hospital earlier after the Team Go Eleven Ducati rider crashed in the Superpole race, sustaining a lumbar contusion.
After a blistering first lap, Rinaldi overhauled Razgatlioglu as the leading pair pulled away from Kawasaki’s Rea, who started to drop back.
Rinaldi opened a cushion over Razgatlioglu, but the championship challenger began to claw back ground and re-took the lead.
However, the Pata Yamaha rider only managed to stay ahead of Rinaldi for a handful of laps before the Ducati prospect pounced on the brakes into Turn 1.
Rinaldi began to edge clear again, while Rea was losing places as the 34-year-old struggled with grip on his ZX-10RR.
Razgatlioglu was also slipping backwards as his rear tyre began to fade and the Turkish rider appeared in danger of losing second place to the hard-charging Scott Redding, who started the race from 15th place after running into the gravel in the Superpole race.
Redding, though, ran out of time to catch Razgatlioglu and had to settle for third place, narrowly holding off Alvaro Bautista on the factory Honda, while series rookie Andrea Locatelli claimed fifth on the second of the Pata Yamaha machines.
Rea was more than three seconds outside the rostrum places as he nursed his Kawasaki home in third. The Northern Ireland star had earlier won the Superpole race at his team’s home round of the championship, taking his sixth Superpole victory of the season from a fast-closing Razgatlioglu.
Round 10 of the championship will take place next weekend at Jerez in Spain.