2021 Estoril World Superbike Race 2 Result: Hotting Up

World Superbike race two was the hottest race of the weekend. Twenty one laps of Estoril with less wind than plagued the races earlier.

As the lights went out, Toprak Razgatlioglu jumped the start and triggered Scott Redding who luckily caught the lights. Razgatlioglu  tried to make amends, but he lost four places into turn one. Redding led Jonathan Rea, Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Garrett Gerloff but went a little wide, leaving a gap that let Rinaldi sneak into, lifting Rea's Kawasaki and letting Razgatlioglu, Gerloff and Eugene Laverty pass him. 

On lap two, Michael Ruben Rinaldi took a tight line into turn six, but Garrett Gerloff behind him ran out of track, grabbed the brake, started a mini slapper and ploughed into the Ducati's rear, ending the race for the pair of them and opening another investigation. Toprak Razgatlioglu, right behind Scott Redding, had a gap of a second over Jonathan Rea when he got his penalty for jumping the start; two long lap penalties. 

A long lap penalty, new in World Superbike for 2021, is a small strip of track outside a corner that requires a rider to thread the needle to complete the loop. This adds in the region of two and a half seconds, if the rider gets it right; a significant improvement on the old ride through penalty that required a sojourn through the pits at limiter speed. 

"The Long Lap Penalty is a new introduction to WorldSBK and is available as a penalty to the WorldSBK stewards for infringements that are deemed to be punishable. Available at selected rounds and circuits, a rider who is given a Long Lap Penalty will have to ride through a section of track, outlined clearly, that extends the length of the lap for that rider."

Toprak Razgatlioglu had the foresight to practice the penalty loop in an earlier qualifying session, and on lap five, as Jonathan Rea closed in to Scott Redding, Razgatlioglu took his first penalty and returned to the race in fourth place, behind Chaz Davies and in front of Alex Lowes. A lap later, he took his second penalty, ending up in sixth place, splitting Andrea Locatelli and Michael van der Mark. Over the next few laps, Razgatlioglu passed Locatelli and pulled him and van der Mark up to Lowes, hounding the fourth-placed man, and on lap nine, Razgatlioglu took fourth place from Lowes, over four seconds behind Davies.

At half race distance, Jonathan Rea's SC0 tyre started to look like it might pay off, as he closed the gap a tenth of a second a lap to Scott Redding, but Redding's technique of scrubbing speed, crashing the apex and powering out worked well to hold off Jonathan Rea's tighter corner speed technique, as the point at which Rea could take an advantage had a dirty great red bike in the way, sweeping to the apex, every time he tried. 

On lap fifteen, Jonathan Rea found a way to pass, diving I to turn one, but Rea kept his cool and switched back to the inside line on the power in turn two. A few turns later, Redding took his wide line but couldn't get to the apex and Rea snuck under him to take the lead. Redding then went for a gap on a tightening left hander and ran out of grip as he had to add braking to avoid Rea in front of him. Redding slid off into the gravel, the front running out of grip, and struggled to get back on the track, eventually recovering in sixteenth place.

Jonathan Rea lost time in the fight with Scott Redding which allowed Chaz Davies to close to within a second or so. Davies had a comfortable gap behind him, with Toprak Razgatlioglu settled into third place five seconds behind, with almost two seconds to go to Alex Lowes behind him. 

The three leading riders all maintained their pace and ticked off the last few laps without incident or progress, and Jonathan Rea won his second race of the day, ahead of Chaz Davies and Toprak Razgatlioglu. Alex Lowes finished in fourth place, clear of Andrea Locatelli and Michael van der Mark. Scott Redding finished in fourteenth place.

Redding's crash, with Razgatlioglu's third place drops him down to third in the championship. Jonathan Rea leads Razgatlioglu by thirty five points, with Scott Redding one point further back. Alex Lowes and Chaz Davies round out the top five with Garrett Gerloff's crash relegating him to sixth place.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
2 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale V4 R 2.787
3 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Yamaha YZF R1 6.697
4 22 A. LOWES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 12.401
5 55 A. LOCATELLI Yamaha YZF R1 14.011
6 60 M. VAN DER MARK BMW M 1000 RR 15.189
7 19 A. BAUTISTA Honda CBR1000 RR-R 15.899
8 66 T. SYKES BMW M 1000 RR 21.628
9 50 E. LAVERTY BMW M 1000 RR 23.257
10 53 T. RABAT Ducati Panigale V4 R 25.344
11 47 A. BASSANI Ducati Panigale V4 R 26.525
12 91 L. HASLAM Honda CBR1000 RR-R 28.227
13 3 K. NOZANE Yamaha YZF R1 29.878
14 45 S. REDDING Ducati Panigale V4 R 38.162
15 44 L. MAHIAS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 38.911
16 32 I. VINALES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 39.128
17 23 C. PONSSON Yamaha YZF R1 1'03.983
18 84 L. CRESSON Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1'07.458
RET 76 S. CAVALIERI Kawasaki ZX-10RR 4 Laps
RET 94 J. FOLGER BMW M 1000 RR 19 Laps
RET 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4 R 20 Laps
RET 31 G. GERLOFF Yamaha YZF R1 20 Laps
Round Number: 
2
2021
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Comments

Though I'm a Ducati fan boy, I have to admire Rea's ability to keep his head down and not make mistakes. 

Or is it reliably scoring points? Rea just keeps on notching them points up. The difference from the saturday bike to the sunday bike was night and day. So congrats to his team too. For me, and my crappy opinion, he has a feel for his machine and realises what is available. And if thats fifth, so be it, better than 16th.

I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned that Redding after his crash, picked up his bike with one footpeg gone and bent handlebars (or levers perhaps, can't remember his exact words) and managed to overtake the two Kawasaki of Mahia and Vinales and get a few points back... only to discover after the race that he had been given a penalty for jump start! So all the extra risks he took with a bike clearly not in perfect shape amounted to nothing. This is a truly embarassing decision taken by the stewards -- if they thought Redding made a mistake they should've given him the long lap penalty as they did with Ratzgatioglu during the race!

As Carlo Baldi (moto.it journalist) told during a livestream on Monday, the decision was taken after somebody made an official complaint after the race, and it was based on only 2 frames of the video stream (2 frames!!!) that showed Redding moving before the red lights. Is that fair? Or safe for the rider?

That is something that should be discussed while from a cursory glance on all the major news outlets I don't see this commented anywhere!

I'll welcome any comment from Jared/David or Gordon on this..

I prefer my results to be decided on the track, but the rules are the rules, even when they're wrong.