WSB Jerez: Toprak Razgatlioglu secures the double to extend championship lead
Toprak Razgatlioglu has opened up a 20-point lead in the World Superbike Championship standings after winning both races at Jerez.
The Turkish rider once again got the better of title rival Jonathan Rea in Spain, beating him in a head-to-head duel in race one, whilst Rea could only manage fifth in race two - Razgatlioglu instead having to fend off Scott Redding.
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In the opening race of the day, the pair, as they have been all year, were in a league of their own at the front of the pack. Rea took the lead away from Razgatlioglu on the opening lap at turn eight and tried his best to pull away.
However, the Kawasaki rider was unable to do so and Razgatlioglu remained within striking distance. On lap seven the two title contenders made contact with one another when Razgatlioglu attempted a late-braking manoeuvre down the inside at turn six. The Yamaha man ran in too hot, hitting the back of Rea and sending both riders off the racing line. Thankfully, both were able to continue.
Spurred on by the near miss, Rea got the hammer down and once again tried to pull the pin. For the second time in the race, this was not possible. Razgatlioglu took the lead on lap 14 by storming down the inside of Rea at turn one, and pulled away to take his first-ever win at Jerez.
Redding completed the podium after overtaking Andrea Locatelli at turn five on the final lap, whilst Alvaro Bautista completed the top five for Team HRC. Loris Baz took a brilliant sixth on his return to the championship. The Frenchman replaced the injured Chaz Davies at Team GoEleven Ducati this weekend.
Michael van der Mark, Axel Bassani, Alex Lowes and Garrett Gerloff completed the top 10. Lowes was declared unfit to ride in the second race of the day due to his injured wrist.
Razgatlioglu made another impressive start and was able to hold off the challenges of Rea on the opening lap. Rea would soon lose second spot to Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who crashed out of race one, and then third to Redding.
A mistake from Rinaldi at turn six almost allowed Redding into second on the sixth lap, but the Brit was able to get the move done by the end of the lap, at turn 13. Redding then set his sights on the race leader.
Redding stalked Razgatlioglu for several laps before making his move on lap 17. It didn't last long though, with the championship leader re-taking the lead at turn 13 on the penultimate lap. Redding didn't drop back, but the Ducati rider was still unable to put another move on his rival. Razgatlioglu crossed the line to secure his 10th win of the season.
Behind them, there was an excellent battle for the remaining spots inside the top six. Rinaldi held the final podium spot until Bautista got the better of both him and Locatelli. Rinaldi was then overtaken by Rea and Bassani in the closing stages.
Rea crossed the line in fifth and finds himself 20 points behind the series leader. Bautista secured his second podium in four races in third spot, ahead of Locatelli. Van der Mark, Baz and Gerloff completed the top 10.