WorldSBK Mandalika R1 Results | Rea wins nervy thriller, Razgatlioglu champion

Jonathan Rea does his bit to keep the 2021 WorldSBK Championship fight alive for one more race but second is enough for Toprak Razgatlioglu to clinch title

Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team
Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team

Toprak Razgatlioglu has wrapped up the 2021 WorldSBK Championship title with one race in hand despite Jonathan Rea doing his bit by prevailing in a thrilling and tense damp inaugural encounter to be held at the new Mandalika Circuit in Indonesia.

The concluding event of a memorable championship fight between Kawasaki’s Rea - whose unbroken six-year run of titles has firmly established him as the greatest WorldSBK rider of all time - and Yamaha’s young pretender Razgatlioglu, it was fitting then that the title-deciding race would prove a classic that succinctly summed up the pair’s engrossing season-long battle for supremacy.

With tensions already heightened by torrential rain on Saturday forcing Race 1 to be shifted to Sunday, the decision to axe the Superpole Race in lieu meant Razgatlioglu now held a 30 point lead with only a maximum of 50 points available (not 62 points had all three races gone ahead).

Meaning a second place finish regardless of a Rea win would be enough to wrap things up, the start of rain as the riders prepared on the grid threw another curve ball into proceedings, not least when Razgatlioglu almost lost his Yamaha on the kerbs at Turn 1 at the start of the sighting lap.

Following a brief delay and a change of rubber, the race started with Rea getting away best to lead into Turn 1, followed by Scott Redding and Razgatlioglu. If the Turk was tentative into the opening turns, he was quickly back up to speed soon after as he dispatched with Redding and immediately set his sights on the Kawasaki ahead. 

Having been substantially quicker than Rea in the dry at least this weekend, it appeared Razgatlioglu had the title sealed when he snatched the lead into Turn 1 at the start of lap three.

However, with the dicey conditions making it difficult for Razgatlioglu to find a reference point, Rea - flanked by Redding and an inspired Axel Bassani, who briefly led on lap five - upped the pressure, the quartet spending the next few laps swapping positions persistently. 

Eventually Rea and Razgatlioglu would shake out at the front, prompting some breathtaking side-by-side action between the pair, not least when the Turk passed at Turn 10 with a seemingly unintended but still sweetly executed block pass on lap nine.

However, the race would be turned on its head on lap 11 when Razgatlioglu got out of shape coming into Turn 13, sending him wide and across the run-off, allowing both Rea and Redding through and almost two seconds clear.

With third place not enough for Razgatlioglu to be champion if Rea won, he nonetheless received a boost when Redding worked his way into the lead, swinging the momentum back to the Turk.

Undeterred, Rea struck back against Redding on Lap 17, but in doing so invited the Ducati man to attempt a response only for him to get crossed up and lose momentum. It meant Rea now had a clear lead, but also that Redding had slipped back into the clutches of Razgatlioglu, who wasted no time in pouncing on the opportunity to make his title-winning pass for second with three laps remaining.

Up ahead Rea crossed the line for another record-breaking 111th win in his 200th WorldSBK race, but it wasn’t enough to stop second place Razgatlioglu from bringing a spectacular six-year reign at the summit of the series to an end.

Behind Razgatlioglu, Redding completed the top three for his 23rd podium of the year, while Andrea Locatelli landed a distant fourth place finish on the second of the Yamaha’s having gotten the better of a fading Bassani.

Despite the late drop back, Bassani’s fifth compared with Garrett Gerloff slide from fourth on the grid to 11th means the margin between the pair in the fight for Rookie of the Year is now just eight points in the American’s favour.

Michael van der Mark led the BMW challenge in sixth position, while Alvaro Bautista got the sole remaining factory Honda into seventh place following the withdrawal of Leon Haslam on Saturday.

Chaz Davies geared up for his final race outing before retirement in eighth place, while Leandro Mercado scored his and MIE Honda’s second top ten finish of the year in ninth. Tom Sykes rallied with the leaders initially before settling in tenth, with the final points going the way of Gerloff, Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Isaac Vinales, Samuele Cavalieri and Kohta Nozane.

2021 WorldSBK Indonesia | Mandalika Circuit | Race 1 RESULTS

2021 WorldSBK Indonesia | Mandalika Circuit | Race 1 RESULTS | Round 13 / 13
PosRiderNat.WorldSBK TeamSuperbikeTiming
1Jonathan ReaGBRKawasaki Racing TeamKawasakI ZX-10RR20 Laps
2Toprak RazgatliogluTURPata Yamaha by BRIXXYamaha YZF-R1+0.670
3Scott ReddingGBRAruba Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+2.155
4Andrea LocatelliITAPata Yamaha by BRIXXYamaha YZF-R1+7.644
5Axel BassaniITAMotocorsa RacingDucati Panigale V4 R+8.133
6Michael van der MarkNEDBMW Motorrad WorldSBKBMW M1000RR+9.809
7Alvaro BautistaESPTeam HRC HondaHonda CBR1000RR-R+13.949
8Chaz DaviesGBRTeam GoElevenDucati Panigale V4 R+14.058
9Leandro MercadoESPMIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R+22.907
10Tom SykesGBRBMW Motorrad WorldSBKBMW M1000RR+25.525
11Garrett GerloffUSAGRT Yamaha WorldSBKYamaha YZF-R1+25.609
12Michael Ruben RinaldiITAAruba Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+26.267
13Isaac VinalesESPOrelac VerdNatura RacingKawasakI ZX-10RR+27.168
14Samuele CavalieriESPBarni Racing TeamDucati Panigale V4 R 
15Kohta NozaneJPNGRT Yamaha WorldSBKYamaha YZF-R1 
DNFChristophe PonssonFRAGil MotorsportYamaha YZF-R1 
DNFTito RabatESPKawasaki Puccetti RacingKawasakI ZX-10RR 
DNFOliver KonigCZETPR Team Pedercini RacingKawasakI ZX-10RR 
DNSLeon HaslamGBRTeam HRC HondaHonda CBR1000RR-R 
DNSAlex LowesGBRKawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR

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