Toprak Razgatlioglu secured victory on his Pata Yamaha debut as he prevailed in a thrilling opening encounter for the 2020 WorldSBK Championship, while defending champion Jonathan Rea dramatically crashed out early on.
A breathless race right up until the finish line with just 0.137s covering the top four riders, the encounter lived up to pre-event billing as potentially one of the most open championships in recent memory with all five manufacturers duked it out for victory.
In the end though it came down to a sprint to the finish line with Razgatlioglu just holding off an inspired Alex Lowes and Scott Redding by 0.007s and 0.041s respectively.
Indeed, the race delivered drama almost immediately when Rea, who grabbed the lead into turn one, was pushed off track by pole sitter Tom Sykes on the run up to Lukey Heights. An aggressive overtake from the 2013 champion, the contact sent Rea skating across the gravel to leave him seven seconds adrift at the back of the field.
However, worse was to follow for the five-time champion as he attempted to make swift progress back up the order when he lost the front-end coming through Hayshed and was sent barrelling off the track. Only his seventh DNF since joining Kawasaki back in 2015, though he walked away unharmed, it marks a disastrous start to his title defence.