This is how Toprak Razgatlioglu can clinch 2021 WorldSBK title in Argentina

Had Toprak Razgatlioglu won Race 2 in Portimao, he'd have needed only 9 points to win the title this weekend... instead he needs 39 over Jonathan Rea

Toprak Razgatlioglu - Pata Yamaha R1

It’s been a long time since the words “this year’s WorldSBK Champion’ have been uttered “Jonathan Rea” as the prefix but this weekend’s penultimate 2021 WorldSBK Championship event in Argentina instead sees Toprak Razgatlioglu arrive armed with the first ‘match point’ opportunity.

The wending WorldSBK title battle between precocious and confident Razgatlioglu on the Pata Yamaha R1 and Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea seeking an unprecedented and record seventh consecutive WorldSBK title has dazzled with its surprise twists and unexpected turns.

Engaging in a fierce tug-of-war that has shifted the pendulum of momentum back and forth amid some fantastic - if increasingly gnarly - racing, no event typified the drama more than last time out in Portimao when Rea crashed out of two races, before a technical failure for Razgatlioglu led to the same fate in Race 2.

Though seismic in their moments, it meant the gap between the pair remained fairly static by the end of the weekend, Razgatlioglu swelling his advantage from 20 points to 24 points.

Regardless, it means the Turk is mathematically able to wrap things up at the San Juan Villicum circuit, where he was a podium winner on a privateer Kawasaki behind Rea in 2019. 

What does Toprak Razgatlioglu need to win the 2021 WorldSBK title?

Assuming Rea doesn’t start circulating around the fringes of the top ten, it would require some lady luck to shine on Razgatlioglu to get the deed done in Argentina, but as Portimao showed, rising stakes and pressure could just as easily see the young pretender take the title home, or alternatively have Rea surge ahead.

With 104 points up for grabs over six races in Argentina and Indonesia, if Razgatlioglu can increase his lead from 24 points to 63 points by the weekend’s conclusion, he is the 2021 WorldSBK Champion. In short, he needs to out-score Rea by 39 points - not insurmountable but definitely difficult given Rea’s consistency, even if that reputation has been tempered in 2021.

It places greater emphasis on his unlucky exit from Race 2 in Portimao, the result of a technical failure at the top of the crest that leads into the long, fast final corner. If he had won that race with Rea in second position, he’d have come to Argentina 54 points clear of Rea and needing only nine points to claim the spoils.

If ‘cool as a cucumber’ Razgatlioglu remains unphased, it is Yamaha that will likely feel the full pressure of that untimely breakage on a machine that has - like the ZX-10RR - been metronomically reliable.

Indeed, if Razgatlioglu does win the title it will be only Yamaha’s second WorldSBK Championship title and its first since Ben Spies won in 2009. It is also in prime position to seal its second WorldSBK Manufacturers’ crown after winning its thus far one and only title in 2007.

Moreover, while fans may relish the prospect of a big title showdown on the unknown layout of the Mandalika Street Circuit, Yamaha will no doubt hope to wrap things up this weekend or face a nervous month before the Indonesian finale gets underway...

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