As the riders left their garages to setup on the grid, the rain came down, but it had stopped by the time the teams left the riders on the grid to race and everyone settled on the softest tyre as the track hit 35ºC.
Jonathan Rea hit turn one first, but it was Toprak Razgatlioglu who got the best start, slotting into second place into turn one, with Tom Sykes, Garrett Gerloff, Leon Haslam and Michael van der Mark behind him. Halfway round the opening lap, Razgatlioglu tried to pass Rea, but his attempt at Coppice didn't work. On lap two, Razgatlioglu set the fastest lap as he followed Rea at the front. The leading pair had Tom Sykes with them who kept up with the leaders, claiming that he saw what Razgatlioglu did on Saturday and just copied his tyre choice.
Tom Sykes said he regretted his tyre choice as the rear was sliding all over the place but he thanked extra Yorkshire puddings for his ability to sit further back on his BMW to increase the rear grip.
Toprak Razgatlioglu set the fastest lap on laps two, three and four, and finally got the pass into coppice he'd been trying all race to work, taking the lead from Jonathan Rea. Over a second behind Tom Sykes, Garrett Gerloff passed Leon Haslam on the outside to take fourth position, with Michael van der Mark, Alex Lowes and Scott Redding on his tail.
Lap five, Jonathan Rea set the fastest lap behind Toprak Razgatlioglu, looking for a way past into the Foggy Esses, but Razgatlioglu on the brakes is very tricky to pass.
On a short, four kilometre track, without any long straights, and a top speed below 280kph, even less if you're not on a Ducati, the riders surprisingly spend a third of the lap on the brakes, and Brembo rates Donington as one of the hardest braking tracks of the year. When braking is one's strength, like it is with Razgatlioglu, it's not surprising one can perform well here.
Rea kept in close to Razgatlioglu bit on lap six, he was a bit too close into the Esses at the end of the back straight, and he had to avoid the Yamaha's rear wheel, a mistake that only cost him a half second. It took Rea two more laps, one of which was the fastest lap of the race, to close on his championship rival, and two laps later, Razgatlioglu missed the first apex into Coppice and went wide enough to kiss the kerb, giving Rea the only invitation he needed to take the lead back.
At half race distance, with Rea and Razgatlioglu almost three seconds clear of Garrett Gerloff and Tom Sykes, Gerloff finally catching and passing the Yorkshire pudding and tea-fuelled Tom Sykes, Jonathan Rea hit the ripple on the track between Mcleans and Coppice, lifting his rear off the track as his front suspension was unloading, putting too much pressure on his front tyre and sending him out of the lead of the race and the championship and into the gravel. He recovered in twentieth position, but gave Razgatlioglu a comfortable two and a half second margin in the lead. Rea picked up his Kawasaki and returned to the race, but he was in twentieth place, dead last, an insurmountable twenty five seconds off nineteenth place.
Toprak Razgatlioglu maintained his two to three second lead over Garrett Gerloff who eventually put a gap between himself and Tom Sykes, with Scott Redding closing on Sykes but unable to get close enough to even try to pass. On the last lap, into the Melbourne hairpin, he tried a lunge, but was too hot going in and he missed the fast line and left Sykes to get his first feature-length race podium in almost two years.
Toprak Razgatlioglu took a decisive victory, with plenty of fuel left to grab, wave and discard a Turkish flag before returning to parc fermé, ahead of Garrett Gerloff, making it a Yamaha 1-2 and cementing Gerloff's place at the top of the independents, and sixth place in the championship. A jubilant Tom Sykes of old secured third place but hat to concede sixth place in the championship to Gerloff. Scott Redding's fourth place returned him to third place, three points ahead of Alex Lowes but sixty four points off Jonathan Rea in second place.
Toprak Razgatlioglu now leads the 2021 World Superbike championship by two points as Jonathan Rea records his first race of the season off the podium and out of the points. The rain was kind enough not to interfere in the racing.