The opening race of 2020 took place on a try track that is notoriously punishing on tyres as riders are only upright down the straight, spending the remainder of the lap on the sides of their tyres. With the weather behaving, and no horrible geese invading the track, twenty two laps of close racing ensued.
Five time world champion Jonathan Rea hit turn one in first place, passing both Scott Redding and Tom Sykes. Toprak Razgatlioglu briefly held second place, but Tom Sykes took it from him. Michael van der Mark, Scott Redding, Leon Hallam and Loris Baz rounded out the top seven. Turn seven, Sykes carried a lot of corner speed and tried to get underneath Rea, but his front tyre hit the inside of Rea's Kawasaki and pushed him off his line. Rea tried to recover, but went off the track, wobbling through the gravel. Rea rejoined the race in last place.
Tom Sykes led lap two, ahead of Scott Redding, Michael van der Mark, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Loris Baz, Leon Haslam, Alex Lowes and Garrett Gerloff. Jonathan Rea, with empty track in front of him, set the fastest lap with a 1'30.501. The eight rider peloton trained together until lap five when Gerloff couldn't keep up with the seven riders in front of him. Loris Baz also dropped out of the leading group by overshooting turn one, losing several places when he returned to the race.
At the start of lap six, Scott Redding tried to make a move into turn one, but Tom Sykes kept his lead, outbraving the Ducati. Jonathan Rea had caught the slower riders and was carving his way through them, barging Federico Caricasulo out of the way so hard out of turn four that he had to apologise. Rea was trying to get past Eugene Laverty outside turn eight, but he hit a rippled part of the track and his front wheel started skipping over the track, causing his bike to slide out and end Rea's race.
The leading six riders split into two groups as Alex Lowes and Leon Haslam dropped off the back of the leading four as they fought their own fight, but on lap nine, they caught back up. At half race distance, as lap twelve started, Scott Redding made his move, passing Tom Sykes down the straight. Michael van der Mark followed Redding through and passed Sykes into turn one. Toprak Razgatlioglu made his move on Sykes into turn four, the favourite aggressive pass corner, and Sykes went from first to fourth in four corners. A lap later Alex Lowes made the same move as Razgatlioglu, passing Sykes. Leon Haslam followed Lowes through and Sykes ended up in sixth position. The leading trio held a brief gap from Lowes, but Lowes and Haslam caught up the next lap, dropping Sykes off the leading group as his tyres were not up for the pace at the front.
On lap fifteen, there was a change at the front. Third-placed Toprak Razgatlioglu tried to pass his teammate into turn one, but he couldn't make it work. On turn four, however, he passed both Michael van der Mark and Scott Redding in one move, and van der Mark took the opportunity to keep Redding off his line and slotted into second place. Leon Haslam, a few bikes back, passed Alex Lowes at turn four, holding fourth place until a few laps later when Lowes took it back.
The leading five bikes were still very close, with the Yamahas leading the Ducati at the front as the Kawasaki and Honda contested fourth place. On lap nineteen of twenty two, Alex Lowes started showing Scott Redding his wheel and made his move to pass him at turn four. After Michael van der Mark took the lead from Toprak Razgatlioglu, Lowes applied the same pressure to Razgatlioglu. At the beginning of lap twenty one, Lowes passed both van der Mark and Razgatlioglu into turn one, but by turn two, Razgatlioglu took the lead from him. Leon Haslam's tyres could no longer keep up and he dropped back, leaving the front four to contest the podium.
The last lap started with Toprak Razgatlioglu leading Michael van der Mark, Alex Lowes and Scott Redding, with Lowes and Redding swapping back and forth down the straight and in turn one. Redding finally took third place at turn four, but Lowes took it back on the exit. Lowes then passed van der Mark directly before the final turn and the four bikes came howling rouhgd the last corner and onto the straight as one tight group.
Toprak Razgatlioglu won the race, seven thousandths of a second ahead of Alex Lowes and just forty one thousandths from Alex Lowes. Michael van der Mark missed out on the podium just over an eighth of a second off the winner. All three podium finishers were new to their bikes for 2020 and were on three different bikes.
Loris Baz was the leading independent rider in seventh place, behind Alvaro Bautista.
|1||54||T. RAZGATLIOGLU||Yamaha YZF R1|
|2||22||A. LOWES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||0.007|
|3||45||S. REDDING||Ducati Panigale V4 R||0.041|
|4||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||0.137|
|5||91||L. HASLAM||Honda CBR1000RR-R||3.910|
|6||19||A. BAUTISTA||Honda CBR1000RR-R||4.426|
|7||76||L. BAZ||Yamaha YZF R1||4.493|
|8||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale V4 R||11.849|
|9||66||T. SYKES||BMW S1000 RR||11.910|
|10||21||M. RINALDI||Ducati Panigale V4 R||11.922|
|11||50||E. LAVERTY||BMW S1000 RR||11.949|
|12||64||F. CARICASULO||Yamaha YZF R1||20.720|
|13||11||S. CORTESE||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||20.778|
|14||31||G. GERLOFF||Yamaha YZF R1||26.039|
|RET||13||T. TAKAHASHI||Honda CBR1000RR-R||14|
|RET||12||X. FORES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||10|
|RET||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||17 Laps|