Toprak Razgatlioglu has extended his lead at the top of the World Superbike standings after beating Jonathan Rea in the Superpole race at Magny-Cours.
Six-time champion Rea overtook Razgatlioglu at the penultimate chicane, but the Yamaha rider hit back at the final corner to steal victory.
Kawasaki’s Alex Lowes was third, with title contender Scott Redding in fifth.
Razgatlioglu leads Rea by eight points, with Ducati’s Redding now 66 behind the Turkish rider in third.
Kawasaki rider Rea, who has dominated the championship since winning his first World Superbike title in 2015, went into the weekend level on points with Razgatlioglu, a rising star of the sport.
The 24-year-old beat the Northern Irishman in the opening feature race on Saturday to move into the championship lead for the first time, and it was the leading pair in the standings who were a level above the rest of the pack in France.
Rea got the jump on Razgatlioglu off the line but the Turkish rider passed the 34-year-old on the second lap with a late move at the hairpin.
The two riders shadowed each other as they pulled away from Lowes in third, and Rea made an attempt to pass his rival with four laps to go but out-braked himself and had to take avoiding action to miss the Yamaha.
Rea soon closed and made a stunning move into the fast, sweeping Imola chicane on the 10th and final lap, but Razgatlioglu responded with a fantastic move of his own into the final corner as he moved up the inside of Rea with a daring move on the brakes.
England’s Lowes was a distant third ahead of the Yamaha of Andrea Locatelli, while Redding was fifth after edging BMW’s Michael van der Mark, Honda’s Alvaro Bautista and Welsh rider Chaz Davies.
Rea, who was a double winner at Magny-Cours last year to take his overall tally of successes at the course to eight, will hope to go one better in Sunday’s feature at 13:00 BST.
The circuit holds pleasant memories for the Northern Irishman as he wrapped up three of his six world titles to date at the French venue – in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
|Toprak Razgatlioglu (Tur)||Yamaha||348|
|Jonathan Rea (GB)||Kawasaki||340|
|Scott Redding (GB)||Ducati||282|
|Alex Lowes (GB)||Kawasaki||176|
|Andrea Locatelli (Ita)||Yamaha||173|
|Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ita)||Ducati||163|
|Tom Sykes (GB)||BMW||153|