Razgatlioglu closes on WorldSBK title after rain forces Superpole Race axe

Toprak Razgatlioglu receives a surprise title boost after the WorldSBK schedule for Mandalika is reduced to two races following torrential rain in Indonesia

Toprak Razgatlioglu - Pata Yamaha

Toprak Razgatlioglu has moved closer to the 2021 WorldSBK Championship title after organisers were forced to cancel one of three races held at the Mandalika Circuit in the wake of torrential rain conditions.

Riders had been planning to head out onto the grid at 15.00 local time (07.00 GMT) but were met with heavy, persistent rain that initially forced a delay that would be extended to a decision being made at 16.00 local time.

That decision has now been made with Race 1 pushed onto Sunday’s schedule in lieu of the short 10-lap Superpole Race, with Race 2 going ahead as planned at 15.00 local time.

The change in the schedule has a major impact on the title fight with Razgatlioglu’s now carrying a 30 point lead into two races with a maximum of 50 points available, rather than 62 points as would be the case had three races gone ahead.

By contrast, it is a huge blow for Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea, who still stood a decent chance under the three race format should Razgatlioglu fail to get a good result or retire from Race 1 or the Superpole Race.

Instead, Razgatlioglu will win the title if he finishes ahead of Rea in Race 1 or finishes within five points of the Ulsterman, the equivalent of Rea winning the race and Razgatlioglu following him in second position.

Should Razgatlioglu win the 2021 WorldSBK Championship title this weekend he will become the first rider other than Rea to clinch the crown since Sylvain Guintoli back in 2014, while it will mark only Yamaha’s second WorldSBK title - after Ben Spies in 2009 - in a year that has seen the Iwata marque wrap up titles in MotoGP, WorldSSP, BSB and MotoAmerica.