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Breakthrough win for Razgatlioglu as Rea takes record fifth WorldSBK championship

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) has overshadowed Toprak Razgatlioglu’s (Turkish Puccetti Racing) maiden WorldSBK wins, with Rea’s Sunday race win at Magny Cours securing a record fifth WorldSBK championship.

Razgatlioglu Scores First WorldSBK Victory In Crazy Magny Cours Race One

After a wet Superpole Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) took his first-ever WorldSBK race win in dramatic fashion after starting from 16th place on the starting grid.

With little track time to find a perfect race set-up after Friday and Saturday wet sessions, the fortunes of the top riders waxed and waned as the laps counted down.

After some incredibly tough passes and frequent overtakes in the early laps, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) took the lead and held it for most of the race only to crash out on turn 15 with just a few laps to go.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) looked set to take the race win, only to have victory snatched from him on the final lap as Razgatlioglu passed him into the slow hairpin. Razgatlioglu crossed the finish line 0.240 seconds ahead of Rea to claim his first WorldSBK victory.

Rea scored second, and in a final niggly battle between old team-mates, Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) took the podium advantage over Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) for third place.

Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) was fifth, struggling at times but still moving up from 14th on the grid to the top five.

Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) took sixth, with the returning Leon Camier (Moriwaki-Althea Honda Racing Team) claiming seventh. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha) TOOK eighth from Eugene Laverty (Team GoEleven Ducati) in ninth with Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha) rounding out the top 10.

Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) were non-finishers after separate falls. Davies tried to pass Razgatlioglu on the of turn 15 and the two clashed, with Davies falling and being unable to restart. Haslam crashed nearer the end as he got too much air time in the final chicane rumple strips.

Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea, WorldSBK race1, French WorldSBK 2019

Razgatlioglu Wins Again
In the ten-lap WorldSBK race, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) scored his second win in as many days, again from 16th position on the grid. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) led for some time, but the Independent Kawasaki rider had the better of the official Kawasaki rider at the end, despite a last lap push and pass from Rea that was finally rebuffed.
Razgatlioglu won by 0.319 seconds and set a new lap record of 1’37.018, on lap two, as he came through the pack.
Third was Race One crasher Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team), although Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) had a very good try at catching him, taking fourth position in the final results.
Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) kept the championship alive and almost kicking with fifth, with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) right behind him.

Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea, WorldSBK Sprint race, French WorldSBK 2019

Rea The Five Times Champion After Race Two Win
In a dramatic turn of events, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) secured his historic fifth World Championship title by winning the second full distance race in France, after his only potential title threat Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) crashed out. Bautista could not avoid hitting the rear of the double race winner Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) and his machine on the exit of a slow corner.
Rea still had work to do, but after dicing with second-placed Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and the shadowing third-placed rider Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team), Rea took the title in style with his 12th win of the season.
Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) was fourth, one place up on local hero Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha). Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha) won a close fight with Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) for sixth, as Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), Leon Camier (Moriwaki-Althea Honda Racing Team) and Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) completed the top ten.
Rea ended the weekend with an unassailable 129 point led in the championship over Bautista, with two rounds to go in Argentina and Qatar.

Jonathan Rea celebrates his 5th world title, French WorldSBK race2 2019

Words Gordon Ritchie

Pics GnG