#CZEWorldSBK Saturday roundup
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s first ever race at the Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic fired up on Saturday and was a thrilling spectacle across the 22 laps of the new venue. After Rea crashed twice, it was a head-to-head grandstand finish between Razgatlioglu and Redding, with the Turk coming out on top in a final lap thriller.
The gap between Redding and Razgatlioglu was now down to under a second as Lap 13 started, but Lap 14 would see a major moment for the race and an even bigger moment for the Championship. Jonathan Rea, chasing Toprak, tucked the front from third at Turn 1, just as he and Razgatlioglu were edging closer to Redding. Rea remounted in the blink of an eye, circulating in 11th but with eight to go, he had a chance of a top ten finish.
The tyres were now coming into play in the final six laps, as Razgatlioglu with the SCX tyre was now right with race leader Redding, who in-turn was setting a strong pace. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), who was having a quiet race in sixth, also began setting his personal best lap and sector times, also on the SCX tyre. There was also a big battle for fourth, as Axel Bassani was giving Rinaldi something to think about.
With five to go, Rea crashed again, this time heavily at Turn 20 but the Championship leader was up on his feet. Meanwhile, in a titanic fight at the front, Razgatlioglu went around the outside of Redding at Turn 14 with four to go, before Redding blasted back ahead at Turn 1 a lap later. The gloves were off as the passionate Most fans were on their feet, with WorldSBK putting on a stunning spectacle in the first WorldSBK race at the track.
The last lap was upon the leading two and Redding rode a fantastic first half a lap, but Razgatlioglu was relentless in the final two sectors, as he made a bold move at Turn 15 but ran wide. Everyone sat back, thinking Redding had the race done but a stunning run through Turn 16, 17, 18 and 19 brought Razgatlioglu back into contention and he lay it all on the line, putting on a thrilling move at Turn 20, running Redding wide. Redding powered the Ducati to the line out of the last corner and closed right in, but it was too late. Razgatlioglu took one of his finest wins, with Redding in second and Andrea Locatelli taking third, some 13.8 seconds behind.
The 2021 FIM Supersport World Championship took to Autodrom Most in Race 1 on Saturday afternoon, and it was building to be a thrilling finish before a Red Flag was waved. A hair-raising opening few laps eventually settled down and it was Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) who took victory as the Red Flag came out, denying Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) and Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing).
Just as the race was reaching its climax, the Red Flag was displayed as the race had just tipped into two-thirds race distance, meaning the race would not be restarted and full points were on offer. Odendaal took his fourth win of the year, ahead of Manuel Gonzalez who took his first WorldSSP podium. Philipp Oettl took third behind the Yamahas, with Odendaal giving Yamaha a 104th win in WorldSSP, meaning they equal Honda’s record at the top in terms of manufacturers’ wins in WorldSSP.
Dominique Aegerter took fourth place ahead of Federico Caricasulo and Luca Bernardi, whilst early race leader Jules Cluzel dropped to seventh. Another early leader, Can Öncü, was eighth as he dropped back through the race, ahead of Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Corse Clienti) and Peter Sebestyen (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team). Randy Krummenacher (EAB Racing Team) was 11th, ahead of Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), Kevin Manfredi (Altogo Racing Team), Galang Hendra Pratama (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) and Federico Fuligni (VFT Racing) completing the points.
The 2021 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship inaugurated WorldSBK paddock racing action at the Autodrom Most and there was drama right from the start. Second-placed rider in the Championship Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) missed the start to the race after a technical issue on the grid. Come the end of the 14-lap encounter, it was Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) who mastered Most by putting a superb ride to break away at the front of the field and dominate the race.
With five laps to go, the battle for second went from second to 12th, as Hugo De Cancellis (Prodina Team WorldSSP300), Koen Mueffels (MTM Kawasaki), Mirko Gennai (Team BRcorse), Jeffrey Buis, Ruben Bijman (Machado CAME SBK), Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) and Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (Accolade Smrz Racing) joined the duel. Two laps later and Adrian Huertas was more-or-less with them, as he came to within half a second of the rear of the group, making for a thrilling spectacle as the Championship battle now crept through the field. Tom Booth-Amos was right with his title rival too, both of them setting the fastest lap of the race on Lap 12.
Into the final lap and Huertas was now into seventh with Booth-Amos a place behind, whilst Di Sora was under serious pressure from Konig. With the home crowd going crazy, Konig took second going into the final two corners, whilst it was a first podium and thus a first race win for Victor Steeman, who dominated the first ever WorldSSP300 race at Most. Konig took second on the road but was dropped to third for exceeding track limits on the last lap after a post-race penalty, nonetheless the first podium for the Czech Republic in WorldSSP300. Whilst Samuel Di Sora crossed the line in third, he too exceeded track limits on the final lap and was dropped one place, meaning he was fourth behind whilst Alejandro Carrion picked up the pieces of the two ahead of him to finish in second.
Bahattin Sofuoglu completed the top five ahead of a stunning Huertas who came back in fine form, ahead of Jeffrey Buis who stayed upright for seventh, ahead of Booth-Amos, De Cancellis, Gennai, Okaya, Perez Gonzalez, Bijman, Meuffels and Christian Stange. 2018 World Champion Ana Carrasco finished in 24th, as she struggled in the Czech Republic. Huertas in sixth and Booth-Amos in eighth means the Spaniard extends his Championship lead by two points over the Brit, now standing at 20.