Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx) as the overall winner of Donington – the rain gods meant well with the Turkish and, contrary to the forecasts, it remained largely dry on Sunday, whereupon he resolutely seized his chance.

Change of leadership in the Championship after Toprak victory and Rea Crash

After the Superpole-Race there was already a shift that nobody would have expected before the start of the season. Due to the desperate result on Saturday with only 6 points, there were only two more points in the sprint race for the long time, second behind Kawasaki. After the strong results from Toprak the day before and Gerloff with P5 in the morning, Ducati was now even overtaken by Yamaha and was only third in the manufacturers’ championship before the last race on Sunday. With Jonathan Rea there was a clear winner in the Superpole Race and the Northern Irishman was also the clear favourite for the second run over the full distance this weekend.

The number of spectators on the track was limited to four thousand, but at least visitors were allowed again, and the riders did not drive another so-called ghost race. Despite the high probability of rain, the forecast was again mostly far off, as so often this year, and that’s why you needed an umbrella, especially on Saturday mornings.

The tire choice – a real poker game
Shortly after the drivers went on the tour, a few raindrops came from the sky despite the sunshine. This is likely to have unsettled Toprak Razgatlioglu in particular, who is considered anything but a rain specialist. It was therefore clear that there would be so-called mixed conditions and the choice of tires was tantamount to a lottery. If, according to the forecast, there was a ninety percent chance of rain, teams and drivers had to play another poker game, and it was unlikely that Redding would bet on rain tires again, as they did in the morning. Rather, almost all the pilots started the race on SCX tires and had to hope that no rain would set in. After the start, Toprak shot up from P6 to second and battled with Tom Sykes for the chase role on the first lap, while Rea was in the lead for the third time this weekend.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) in front of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha YZF R1) and Tom Sykes (BMW M-1000RR) was the initial order after the start, in which the Turk, coming from position 6 again as the day before, was best behind the leader got away.

The duel for the top
While Sykes struggled to follow the leading duo early on, the expected battle for the top between the world championship leader and his first rival in the title fight flared up ahead. Behind Sykes in P3 followed Gerloff, Haslam, van der Mark, Lowes, Redding, Mahias and Rinaldi. When there were still 20 laps to go, the Turk on his Yamaha overtook the Kawasaki driver for the first time and thus took command. The reigning world champion did not let himself be shaken off by Toprak, and clung to his heels, while behind him, Redding had pushed past van der Mark and Lowes to P6. A little later, Rea missed the chicane at Turn 9, whereupon he lost some ground to the leader on the Yamaha. Haslam lost a few positions and fell back to 9th position within two laps behind Mahias.

Tom Sykes (BMW M-1000RR) had a great moment on his second favourite track, next to Assen, when he was able to fight for the podium twice in a row on Sunday after missing just one position on Saturday (© BMW Motorrad WorldSBK).

The 6-time world champion does not give up and makes his first mistake
After the first third of the race, it became clear that Johnny Rea had anything but given up. He drove back to Toprak with the fastest race lap and began to put it under pressure again. When there were 14 laps left, the Kawasaki factory rider was back in the lead after passing Razgatlioglu on the inside at Turn 8. It was the reigning world champion’s first mistake when he fell in the very corner where he had previously taken the lead in front of the Turk. At position 20 he continued his hunt with 12 laps to go, but by this point Toprak, who was again at the top, had already provisionally taken the championship lead by two points. Behind him, Gerloff had passed Sykes and was in second position, with Redding around one and a half seconds behind him when there were still 7 laps to go.

Strictly speaking, Scott Redding ( Ducati) experienced a much blacker weekend than Jonathan Rea – the reigning vice world champion scored the only points in the second race on Sunday, although he missed the podium behind Sykes.

The Yamaha double victory and Rea fall changed everything

While Rea was knocked out twentieth, while Yamaha celebrated a one-two, everything changed in the world championship in one fell swoop. But one should also think of the situation in 2019, when, after 11 wins in a row, Alvaro Bautista had led with 63 points ahead of the Kawasaki ace in the World Cup. Toprak Razgatlioglu is World Cup leader for the first time in his career and is now in a completely new situation. And nobody is as persistent as Johnny Rea when he goes into the race as a challenger. With Assen, there is now a track that suits the Northern Irish very well and where the Kawasaki has always worked perfectly so far. It will be interesting to see what the pressure of a World Cup leadership on the other side does to Toprak. The Yamaha ace had never shown a really consistent season before, and the burden of thoughts with a possible first title made riders like Fabio Quartararo a completely different person last year. Below is the official result with the only run that weekend started as a dry race, although it never actually rained during the races.

The first interviews after the race
Tom Sykes was overjoyed and, according to his own statement, he enjoyed the race very much. It was a great weekend for him and BMW, and now they finally got what they deserved from his point of view. Finally, he was able to ride up front and even if Toprak was a lonely top and Garrett was also very strong, the joy of third outweighed everything for him after the second podium of the day. The second-placed Gerloff was of course also overjoyed after his second podium of the season. It was sometimes very hard for him in the last few laps, as he said on the record, and to be back on the podium is absolutely fantastic and just beautiful. According to his own statement, Toprak was absolutely not satisfied in the morning, but of course he was overjoyed now. With just a few words, the young Turk remained very taciturn as usual and showed hardly any emotions after his triumph. But at least he emphasized that he was looking forward to the next round in Assen, before he politely thanked his team and said goodbye from the microphone.

Garrett Gerloff in the GRT Yamaha Box – the Texan showed a sensationally strong performance again, despite a crash on the first day, finishing in 7th and fifth in the morning at the end of the afternoon, and he was an excellent second just 2.243 seconds behind Toprak.

Stand in the WorldSBK world championships

It should be noted that despite a crash in the last race, Jonathan Rea was the fourth-best driver with 32 points at the Donington weekend behind Toprak Razgatlioglu (54), Tom Sykes (38) and Garrett Gerloff (34). Redding, on the other hand, only got their 13 and lost further ground to the two in front of him in the World Cup. In addition, he has Lowes on his neck, who with his fall in the morning had blocked the chance of even pushing his compatriot from position 3 after the Superpole race. Numerous postponements are to be expected for Assen and should it rain there, the world championship leader is almost certainly already in the lead. This threatened him in Donington, but it stayed dry, and only this circumstance allowed the Turks to play to their full potential and take the lead in the intermediate standings after Rea’s mistake.

P, Rider, Points
2 REA 181
4 LOWES 114
7 SYKES 89
13 HASLAM 41
14 MAHIAS 36
15 RABAT 18
16 NOZANE 17

Donington Park Circuit

The course, located in the immediate vicinity of East Midland Airport, is 4,023 kilometres (2.49 miles) long. With 7 right and 5 left turns, the longest start-finish straight is just 550 meters long.

WorldSBK Donington Park schedule (WSBK only, no WSSP)

DayLocal timeMEZSession
Fr, 2. Jul10:30 – 11:1511:30 – 12:15WorldSBK – FP1
Fr, 2. Jul15:00 – 15:4516:00 – 16:45WorldSBK – FP2
Sa, 3. Jul09:00 – 09:3010:00 – 10:30WorldSBK – FP3
Sa, 3. Jul11:10 – 11:2512:10 – 12:25Superpole
Sa, 3. Jul14:0015:00Race 1 WorldSBK
Su, 4. Jul09:00 – 09:1510:00 – 10:15Warm-Up
Su, 4. Jul11:0012:00Superpole Race WSBK
Su, 4. Jul14:0015:00Race 2 WorldSBK

How to proceed – the still provisional calendar

The next round will be in the “Cathedral of Speed”, where, according to the organizers, the number of spectators should be unlimited. In contrast to MotoGP, the break from WorldSBK to Assen is only three weeks because the start of the season was significantly delayed. Due to the corona pandemic and the associated requirements, however, tests or vaccinations are required, and there will be no paddock show because the drivers and teams should stay in a so-called bubble. How leaky this is, however, we have already seen enough at many MotoGP races this season and if you pay enough money, you will usually find a way to be very close to it. In any case, the European laps are considered secure, but the overseas races are considered very unsafe, even if they are far behind on the calendar.

Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).