Race-1 of the Pirelli French Round ends with an extraordinary victory for Alvaro Bautista and sixth place for Michael Rinaldi.
At the Magny-Cours circuit the twists and turns are not lacking. First Rea (Kawasaki) then Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) crash on lap three, leaving Bautista (who started from fourth position) free to chase Redding (BMW). Lap after lap The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati rider gains more and more confidence with his Ducati Panigale V4R, and on lap 7 he overtakes the British rider to secure the lead and then close by a wide margin.
Rinaldi’s start (from P7) is brilliant and the Italian rider immediately takes the leading group. After winning duels with Lowes (Kawasaki) and Bassani (Ducati), Rinaldi catches Baz (BMW) – who crashes on lap 12 – for the 3rd position. The Aruba.it Racing -. Ducati rider’s pace is strong but on lap 14 he makes a small mistake that forces him off the track. Back in 10th position, Rinaldi tries a dogged comeback, closing in P6.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #19)
“It is an important result on a circuit that is not easy for us. We took a good choice in terms of tires, even though I made a small mistake at the start. Luckily, I didn’t lose much ground. In the first few laps I mainly tried to get confident with the tires and after Toprak and Johnny crashed I tried to take my time to pass Redding. The lead (56 points) in the standings? I prefer to stay focused on the track than on the Championship. Tomorrow is going to be another important day”.
Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)
“It was a solid race. I started well and from the first laps, I felt I had a good feeling with my bike. The race pace was strong and after fighting with Bassani and Lowes my plan was to pass Baz who then crashed. The feeling was really good and I thought I had the potential to try and catch Redding too, but I made a mistake in Turn 1 and I went off the track. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take advantage of this big opportunity, also in light of the crashes of Toprak and Johnny, but we know for sure we were fast”.
It was a difficult Saturday for Nicolò Bulega, who after a good qualifying session (P4) had to deal with a front-end problem that did not allow him to push with confidence. When Race 1 of the WorldSSP was stopped with seven laps to go due to a red flag, the Italian rider was in eleventh position.
Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WSSP #11)
“Unfortunately, right from the very first laps, I felt some vibrations coming from the front end of the bike. It was very strange because it had never happened to me all weekend. Let’s try to understand what happened in order to solve the problem and be ready for tomorrow.”