The first race of the Estoril Round Gaerne offered an exciting show this Saturday with the unpredictable duel between the leading trio over 21 laps. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed his second victory of the season in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in a tight finish in which the three on the podium crossed the line barely a second apart.
Rea has started from pole for the second round in a row, but the sudden start by Redding and Razgatlioglu has relegated the world champion to third place. Just after the first lap, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) also passed Rea to take a few turns in third position. The Northern Irishman has regained third place on that same lap, but in that give and take the leading duo has consolidated a few meters ahead of the poleman. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who started from 10th position after canceling a fast lap on the Tissot Superpole, also took a risk at the start and rallied to fifth position after the first four laps.
Behind the leading five, Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) kept a steady pace to try to get to the top of the race. In the central phase of the test, Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse), Samuele Cavalieri (Team Pedercini Racing) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) fell to the ground with a few minutes apart, while Álvaro Bautista (Team HRC ) and Tito Rabat (Barni Racing) have climbed within the group and settled in 8th and 9th place, preceded by Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) and Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team).
After a few laps behind Redding and Razgatioglu, but without actually harassing the leading duo, the world champion looked for a change of pace to attack Ducati’s English and Yamaha’s Turkish. With 7 laps remaining, the Northern Irishman cut the gap to Toprak to 7 tenths, but the Yamaha rider also forced his pace and was able to maintain the position. The Turk has stuck to the Redding wheel, preparing an attack on the first position … that has not happened.
The first three, in a second
The trio tackled the last laps very far from the rest and in a very tight single file that has no longer undergone modifications despite the fact that Rea has put pressure on the Turk in each turn. Redding has crossed the finish line 8 tenths ahead for his second consecutive championship win. The finish between Razgatlioglu and Rea was much tighter, as the Yamaha rider crossed the finish line just 38 thousandths ahead of the championship leader.
Garrett Gerloff was left out of the fight for the podium when he fell off at the start of the test after touching fairings with Lucas Mahias (Puccetti Racing), but he signed a fourth place unopposed, distancing Rinaldi by more than four seconds. Davies and van der Mark crossed the checkered flag in 6th and 7th position. Behind, an Álvaro Bautista who has starred in a more than meritorious comeback from 18th position on the grid, has been 8th and Tito Rabat has signed his best career in WorldSBK so far with his 9th position. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) completed the top 10 in the first race of the weekend.
1. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) + 0.877s
3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) + 0.915s
4. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) + 9.518s
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) + 13.636s
6. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) + 17,177s