Toprak Razgatlioglu won both World Superbike races of Round 4 at Donington Park last week and snatched a narrow lead in the points after Jonathan Rea crashed out of Race 2 – as American rider Garrett Gerloff earned a career-best finish and his second podium.
Starting deep in the pack in Race 1, Razgatlioglu passed eight bikes and was running fifth in the first corner. He was up to second by Turn 8. It didn’t take much longer for him to assume the lead, which he grabbed from points leader Jonathan Rea on Lap 2. Razgatlioglu never looked back and got to the finish line 2.4 seconds before Rea.
In Race 2, Razgatlioglu advanced from sixth to second by Turn 1 and was once again embroiled in a battle with the points’ leader. Rea led the first three laps before getting passed by the Turkish rider. Razgatlioglu was in the lead on Lap 9 before a small mistake in Turn 8 handed the lead back to Rea.
That didn’t last long. After finishing second in Race 1, Rea crashed one lap later in the same corner where he made his pass for the lead.
Rea remounted in 20th, was unable to make up any ground, and finished outside the points. The dramatic turn of events handed the championship lead to Razgatlioglu by a slim margin of two points.
One of the more remarkable rides during the weekend belonged to Gerloff. One week after making his MotoGP debut in the Dutch GP and finishing 17th, the American rider finished a little more than two seconds behind Razgatlioglu in Race 2. Gerloff finished seventh in the first race. And with Michael Ruben Rinaldi finishing 12th in Race 1 and eighth in Race 2, Gerloff closed to within a single point of fifth in the standings.
“For sure, I threw away a podium yesterday, which is frustrating,” Gerloff said at WorldSbk.com. “But I just have to put it behind me and start over again. It was nice to at least maintain my position in the Tissot Superpole Race and I felt good with the bike. It was awesome that the rain held off for the last race because it looked like it was definitely coming!”
Gerloff will get a chance to capitalize on his MotoGP experience as Round 5 of the World Superbike heads to Assen Circuit in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately, his next closest rival in the points Tom Sykes stood next to him on the podium in Race 2. With two top-five finishes to his credit, Sykes closed in on Gerloff and trails by only four points.