Rain stopped in advance of what would be close racing on a drying track, with Jonathan Rea leading Alvaro Bautista by ninety one points and only one hundred and eighty six points up for grabs this year. If Rea leaves France at least one hundred and twenty five points ahead of Bautista, he's the 2019 World Superbike champion.
Alvaro Bautista qualified on the fifth row of the grid, thirteen places behind pole-sitter Jonathan Rea. Jonathan Rea retained the lead into turn one but briefly lost it to Michael van der Mark as they charged down to the Adelaide hairpin, the hairpin at the end of the kinked straight. Rea had the inside line at the hairpin, but van der Mark had more pace on the outside and tried to take the lead by leaning on Rea. Rea, instead of conceding the lead, held on and eventually got rid of the Yamaha leaning on his flank. Tom Sykes, from third place, saw the opportunity and took second place.
On the second lap, with nobody showing any more pace than anyone else, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea got into a lap-long duel, swapping the lead back and forth. Sykes briefly had the lead on the straight, tried to take it into the Adelaide hairpin, only to go wide and return the lead to Rea. Sykes then made a more spirited move that allowed Chaz Davies, setting the fastest lap in the process, to get past Rea, fighting with Leon Haslam, Michael van der Mark and, charging to the fight for the lead from sixteenth place, Toprak Razgatlioglu. A lap later, as eight riders were within striking distance of one another, the lead changed between Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes, but Sykes ended up in the lead while Davies was pushed back to fourth by Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, before Michael van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu got their oars in. On lap four, Razgatlioglu made an enthusiastic move at the Adelaide hairpin to briefly take second place from Rea, making the charge work from back at the exit of turn three.
Chaz Davies tried to get second place off Rea, right after he took it from Razgatlioglu, but charged too deep from too far back and crashed out, Rea having to dodge his crashing bike, making slight contact. Razgatlioglu had to make an evasive manoeuvre to avoid Davies's crash and coincided third place to Michael van der Mark in the process. Loris Baz set the fastest lap in seventh place.
Lap five, after so many overtakes and a crash, there were seven riders in the leading bunch. Tom Sykes, Jonathan Rea, Michael van der Mark, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Leon Haslam, Loris Baz and Alex Lowes were all within an overtake of each other, but Alex Lowes looked like the only rider not trying to get past the bike in front of him. Alvaro Bautista sat over a second and a half behind. Sykes, Rea and van der Mark all set the fastest lap in succession. On lap six of twenty one, Rea tried an outside pass at Adelaide, but on the entry, his front tyre twitched, causing Rea to back off and allowing van der Mark to take second place. A lap later, van der Mark would go one better, talking the lead from Sykes, and Rea would go one worse, conceding a place to a hungry Toprak Razgatlioglu at Adelaide.
Once van der Mark held the lead, he was able to set another fastest lap as the track dried, while behind him, Rea passed Sykes in what can only be described as close racing, and was followed through by Razgatlioglu as it was all change at the chicanes.
Lap nine, van der Mark was a second clear of the raucous six-way fighting behind him, and he set a fastest lap again, only to lose it to Loris Baz a couple of seconds later, Baz having passed Sykes in the process. At the start of lap ten, van der Mark was a second clear of the three-way fight for second place between Rea, Razgatlioglu and Baz, with Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam fighting for fifth a further second behind them. Van der Mark once again increased the lap pace with another fastest lap.
A lap later, van der Mark once again briefly held the fastest lap until Toprak Razgatlioglu, passing Rea in the process, took it off him. A lap later, with van der Mark holding the gap over second place constant, Rea tried to take second place from Razgatlioglu, and the Turkish rider twitched the front wheel on the brakes, avoiding a crash but losing second place. Over the next couple of laps, Rea and Razgatlioglu broke free of Loris Baz behind them and Rea set the fastest lap, gently closing on van der Mark.
On lap seventeen, Jonathan Rea set the fastest lap again, catching van der Mark, while his teammate Leon Haslam exited the chicane at the end of the lap a little closely, his rear suspension unloading as the bike left the kerbing on the inside of the exit. The unstable rear lost grip and Haslam crashed out of eighth place.
On lap eighteen, the race pace was now within half a second of the lap record, the track now dry enough for decent lap times, and there were three riders at the front. Van der Mark, Rea and Razgatlioglu were together, but Razgatlioglu couldn't hold the pace.
On lap nineteen, neither could Michael van der Mark.
With Jonathan Rea pushing him from behind, Michael van der Mark lost grip into the Adelaide hairpin, losing grip on his front tyre and crashing out of the lead. He tried to pick his bike up, but his chance for victory was gone. Jonathan Rea led the race by over a second. Toprak Razgatlioglu was in a comfortable second place, while Tom Sykes was settling into his bike and giving Loris Baz all sorts of trouble in the fight for the last podium spot, eventually passing him with impossible corner speed into the 180 turn, and holding third place.
On the last lap, with Rea holding a comfortable lead over Razgatlioglu, he settled into an unchallenged last lap pace, ready to coast to victory. Unfortunately, nobody told Toprak Razgatlioglu that the race was settled and he put in a great effort, stating after the race "last lap, I'm big stress", and closed down Rea. A couple oc clean but hard moves caught Rea napping and Razgatlioglu took the lead off him late enough not to give Rea any opportunity to take the lead back.
Toprak Razgatlioglu did something his mentor, Kenan Sofuoglu, could never do and gave Turkey their first World Superbike victory, earning himself a spot in the race winner's pantheon. Jonathan Rea was second ahead of Tom Sykes, with Loris Baz just losing out on the podium at home. Alvaro Bautista took a quiet fifth place.
Jonathan Rea, who described the first ten laps as "like racing with kids", now leads Alvaro Bautista by a hundred points with only one hundred and sixty one points remaining. The fight for third place in the championship now looks like a three-way fight between Alex Lowes, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark. Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies did their championships no good by crashing out and are in sixth and seventh places respectively.
|1||54||T. RAZGATLIOGLU||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||0.240|
|3||66||T. SYKES||BMW S1000 RR||6.839|
|4||76||L. BAZ||Yamaha YZF R1||8.497|
|5||19||A. BAUTISTA||Ducati Panigale V4 R||9.368|
|6||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||15.129|
|7||2||L. CAMIER||Honda CBR1000RR||25.067|
|8||33||M. MELANDRI||Yamaha YZF R1||26.869|
|9||50||E. LAVERTY||Ducati Panigale V4 R||32.091|
|10||11||S. CORTESE||Yamaha YZF R1||32.823|
|11||81||J. TORRES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||35.409|
|12||36||L. MERCADO||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||41.945|
|13||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||46.640|
|14||21||M. RINALDI||Ducati Panigale V4 R||1'03.136|
|15||52||A. DELBIANCO||Honda CBR1000RR||1'07.315|
|16||28||M. REITERBERGER||BMW S1000 RR||1'07.679|
|17||20||S. BARRIER||Ducati Panigale V4 R||1'08.300|
|18||23||R. KIYONARI||Honda CBR1000RR||1'11.449|
|RET||91||L. HASLAM||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||5 Laps|
|RET||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale V4 R||17 Laps|