WSBK Donington Park: Jonathan Rea closes gap at top with runner-up finish as Alvaro Bautista crashes out | Toprak Razgatlioglu takes dominant victory

Reigning World Superbike champion Toprak Razgatlioglu dominated the opening race at Donington Park on Saturday as Jonathan Rea closed the gap at the top with a somewhat fortuitous runner-up finish.

By Kyle White
Saturday, 16th July 2022, 3:01 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th July 2022, 5:29 pm

Razgatlioglu, who qualified third quickest behind Rea and Alex Lowes, hit the front off the line and led all the way, clinching victory by 6.3s from Rea after 23 laps, with Lowes passing fellow Briton Scott Redding in the closing stages to join his Kawasaki team-mate on the rostrum, over nine seconds behind the winner.

Championship leader Alvaro Bautista dramatically crashed out at the end of lap 15 after losing the front going into Goddard’s shortly after passing Rea for second place. The title rivals had fought out a fierce battle for the runner-up spot behind Razgatlioglu before Rea began to struggle with his rear tyre.

The Ulster rider had a few big moments on his Kawasaki, including a near-highside on the exit of the Esses on lap five as he pushed hard behind Bautista.

World Superbike title contender Jonathan Rea fnished second in race one on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR at Donington Park on Saturday.

Ex-MotoGP man Bautista’s advantage at the top has now been slashed to 16 points by Rea, who set a new pole lap record on Saturday, ahead of Sunday’s two races at the Leicestershire circuit.

Razgatlioglu is 54 points behind Bautista in third after gaining 25 points on the Ducati rider with seven rounds still remaining after Donington.

Axel Bassani finished fifth on the Motocorsa Racing Ducati with Michael Ruben Rinaldi sixth on the second of the factory Aruba.it Ducati machines.

British Superbike champion and wild card rider Tarran Mackenzie finished in the points in 14th place on the McAMS Yamaha ahead of fellow BSB man Leon Haslam (Pedercini Kawasaki) in 15th.

Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty was 20th on the Bonovo Action BMW with Peter Hickman in 22nd position on the FHO Racing BMW.