WSBK Indonesia: Jonathan Rea hails 'deserving' new champion Toprak Razgatlioglu

Jonathan Rea’s six-year reign as World Superbike champion was ended on Sunday as Turkey’s Toprak Razgatlioglu sealed his maiden title after the first race in Indonesia.

Sunday, 21st November 2021, 8:41 am
Updated Sunday, 21st November 2021, 11:12 am

Northern Ireland’s Rea relinquished his crown in style as he claimed victory on his Kawasaki by 0.670s, with Razgatlioglu’s second place enough to put the outcome beyond doubt with one race of the 2021 season remaining.

Ducati’s Scott Redding finished 2.1s back in third spot ahead of Razgatlioglu’s Pata Yamaha team-mate Andrea Locatelli at the 13th and final round of the championship.

Rea, who has dominated the series since his switch to Kawasaki for the 2015 season, winning a record six titles in succession, said: “My target coming here was to win races and enjoy myself, and get home with a good feeling. We certainly did that today, but today’s not about me, it’s about Toprak and his team, who have done an incredible job this year.

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Jonathan Rea congratulates new World Superbike champion Toprak Razgatlioglu following Race 1 in Indonesia on Saturday.

“They deserve this championship and congratulations to them. We will look forward to race two and also to go home and get ready for next season.”

On Saturday, racing was postponed due to torrential rain and a revised scheduled announced for Sunday, with the Superpole race dropped and the two full-distance races planned.

The opening race was delayed slightly and shortened from 21 laps to 20 after some rain began to fall, but all riders started the race on slick tyres.

Rea hit the front and led on the opening laps until Razgatlioglu came through on the third lap, making his move for the lead, while Redding also found a way past Rea on the next lap.

Rea, though, battled back and reclaimed the lead on lap five before exchanging passes with Razgatlioglu, who lost ground when he ran wide at Turn 16, dropping to third.

With Rea leading, Razgatlioglu needed to claim the runner-up spot to finish the job in race one and he made his title-winning pass on Redding at Turn 1 with two laps to go.

He began to catch the race leader, but Rea held out for his 111th WSBK race victory and his 96th for Kawasaki.

Razgatlioglu’s advantage over Rea was cut from 30 points to 25, but the championship was decided as the 25-year-old has won more full-length races than the outgoing champion this year and would still have been crowned champion if he failed to score any points in race two.

Razgatlioglu is Yamaha’s first World Superbike champion since American Ben Spies won the title in 2009, while Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli was the last rider other than Rea to clinch the championship in 2014.

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