WSBK: Race wins for Rea and Redding open title chances for season finale
Thrilling action up and down the grid was the order of the day during Race 1 for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with wet conditions greeting the 21 riders for the opening race of the Pirelli French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) claimed his 10th victory of the 2020 season.
The drama started at Turn 1 as both Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and teammate Eugene Laverty retired from the race on the opening lap; Laverty was taken out by a falling Sykes after the British rider was hit by Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team).
The incident left Rea, Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) and Gerloff battling for victory after Gerloff fell back following a mistake at Turn 5. Gerloff recovered to third place but a crash at the Turn 6-7 Nürburgring chicane forced him to retire; the American star taken to the medical centre for a check-up. It meant Rea and Baz duelled it out for victory with Rea coming out on top by around three seconds while Baz secured his first podium at Magny-Cours. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished in third place as he secured his first podium since the Australian Round; Lowes securing his third podium of the season.
Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) followed up his victory at Catalunya with fourth at Magny-Cours as he continued to his strong end to the season as the Welshman finished ahead of the battling trio of Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team), Leon Haslam (Team HRC) and Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati). Redding finished in fifth place ahead of Razgatlioglu in sixth after Haslam passed Razgatlioglu into Turn 12 before crashing straight after; Haslam retiring from the race.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) finished in seventh place ahead of Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) equalling his best result of the 2020 season with eighth place. Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) finished ninth after the Dutchman crashed on Lap 15 at Turn 13 while battling in the top four positions, ahead of Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) in tenth.
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) finished the 21-lap race in 11th place with Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) finishing just ahead of French rider Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) finishing in 13th place as he scored more points. Valentin Debise (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) scored his first ever WorldSBK points with 14th place and Xavier Pinsach (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) claiming points in his first WorldSBK race.
Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) finished the race in 16th; equalling his best result of his races in the 2020 season with Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing HONDA Team) rounded out the classification in 17th place, with Haslam, Gerloff, Sykes and Laverty all retiring from the race.
P1 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK):
“I felt pretty good out there straight from the get-go, but to be fair Loris and Garrett and Alex were in the group and the pace was incredible. Doing 48, 48, 49, 48. Every time I saw my dashboard, I thought I’d be able to get a gap but they were right there. It was a really fun race, Loris pushed me right to the end. He made a small mistake, I think, with five or six laps to go.”
P2 Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha):
“I’m so happy. It was a crazy race. I know I had fantastic pace all weekend, but I took a gamble in Superpole, I went for the intermediate tyre. I just missed out on the right lap by a few seconds, so I was a bit annoyed at that. I had a great race, great pace and tried to be as close as possible. The pace he was putting was crazy, every lap he improved the time and for 12 or 13 laps we were going faster and faster. I had a moment on the kerb going into the last chicane, I lost a second, and then I just tried to manage the gap with Alex and then staying close to Jonny in case he made a mistake. He doesn’t make many mistakes so hats off to him because it’s not easy to put this kind of pace when you’re playing for a Championship. We have some fans here and it’s my first podium at Magny-Cours so I’m happy for them and we try again tomorrow.”
P3 Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK):
“I felt good in the wet all weekend. The start was a bit hectic, Gerloff got a bit too aggressive on the inside and I was lucky to miss that altercation. After that, I felt quite good. I got onto the back of the group and then from about half the race I struggled with the front. It’s been a long time since I was on the podium, so I had to manage the second part of the race. I’m happy to be back up here!”
#FRAWorldSBK at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours – Race 1.
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +3.342s
3. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +9.707s
4. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +14.045s
5. Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +16.427s
6. Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) +16.976s
Rookie Scott Redding fights from fourth on the grid to take victory as he takes the title fight to the final round of 2020
Oct 4th 2020– The fight for the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will head to the season finale as Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) claimed victory from fourth on the grid at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for the Pirelli French Round with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finishing in fourth after starting from pole position.
Rea had led from the start and for the first three laps of the race before Redding had made his way up to the lead battle and passed Rea on the fourth lap of the 21-lap race to take the lead; Redding would go on to dominate the race to take a valuable 25 points in the Championship battle. Redding was joined on the podium by Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) as the home hero claimed his second podium of the French Round, with Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) competing the podium.
Davies made the title-denying pass on Lap 14 as he pushed Rea down into fourth place, meaning Rea leads Redding by 59 points with 62 points available in the remaining three races. Rea had tried to fight back in the latter stages of the race to secure the Championship at Magny-Cours but Davies was able to stay ahead.
Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) finished in fifth place, more than nine seconds clear of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN); the duo battling on track for a top five finish before van der Mark pulled clear. Rinaldi and Davies also battled out on track as the fight for a 2021 Ducati seat hots up. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished in seventh place after running the opening laps in the top two positions, directly behind his teammate.
Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) secured another top eight finish as the American rookie continues to make steps forward as he finished ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team); the British rider completing the top ten.
Italian rider Federico Caricasulo (GRT YAMAHA WorldSBK Junior Team) finished four seconds behind Sykes in 11th place with Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) equalling his best result of the season with 12th place. Leon Haslam (Team HRC), Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) rounded out the top 15 to win points in the Championship.
Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) finished in 16th place, ahead of Valentin Debise (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) and Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing HONDA Team) completed the riders who finished the race with Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Xavier Pinsach (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) and Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) not finishing the race; Pinsach and Mercado suffering crashes during the race with Mercado out of the race on Lap 1.
P1 Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
“I was on the back foot all weekend because I didn’t have the laps on the rain tyres, but I was getting faster and faster. With the setting of the bike that was holding me back a little bit, I said to the team that if we could get this fixed, I think I can fight for the win. From the first and second lap, I saw I had the pace. The second problem was how long would the Pirelli last in these conditions as I had no idea. I was trying to ride as smooth as possible but in the end I did everything to win today.”
P2 Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha)
“I’m really happy. I have to thank my team, especially my crew chief because he gave me the confidence to choose the hard tyre on the grid. He wanted me to choose that one for the Superpole Race and I didn’t listen. It was a hard race. I was expecting to struggle a bit more at the beginning, but I had a good pace coming through the pack. I tried to overtake Jonny as soon as possible but Scott had something more and hats off to him.”
P3 Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
“It was a great race. Good to round this wet weekend off on the podium. A lot of pressure on that last lap, I knew what was on the line for Scott. I knew the points situation for him. And also, for myself, I knew van der Mark was sitting fifth in the race and obviously the main thing for me is to try and consolidate third in the Championship. A bit of pressure for me and for the team. Happy to bring it home on the podium. I felt really good out there, the bike was feeling really good. A great end to the weekend.”
#FRAWorldSBK at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours – Race 2.
1. Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
2. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +2.551s
3. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +3.648s
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +4.261s
5. Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) +7.409s
6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) +16.505s
Championship Standings after Race 2, Round 7
1. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (340 points)
2. Scott Redding (GBR) Ducati (281 points)
3. Chaz Davies (GBR) Ducati (222 points)