‘As a team, as a rider, you just had to be perfect everywhere’ - Denning

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

Pata Yamaha team boss Paul Denning has acknowledged the performance of his rival Aruba Ducati WorldSBK squad in 2022, saying that perfection was required to take the title.

Denning’s rider Toprak Razgatlioglu had to relinquish his championship to Alvaro Bautista this year even though he stood on the podium top step more often than in 2021 and it was all down to the Spaniard’s lack of errors.

“We won 13 races last year with Toprak and 14 this year. As it’s turned out this year, with Alvaro making one mistake in the whole season which was Donington when he tucked the front and had a DNF, as a team, as a rider, you just had to be perfect everywhere,” said Denning.

“Not being perfect cost us the chance to bring the fight to Phillip Island. Alvaro deserves the Championship. The bottom line is we didn’t quite have enough to win the title but, by any other measure, it was a very successful season.”

“What needs to be acknowledged is that the Bautista-Ducati package and the level that Jonathan and Kawasaki got to this year was far, far higher than last year. With exactly the same tyres from Pirelli, and the exact same regulations, we were destroying pole position lap times, destroying race distance lap times sometimes by an average of a second a lap and that includes Aragon and Assen; we were so much faster than we’ve ever been there before.

“In that single measurement, you could say that was a great step. But the bottom line is it wasn’t enough to run with those two guys. Toprak was leading when he and Jonathan crashed together at Assen; that didn’t help as well because suddenly those two difficult first events were capped off by a DNF.

“The points deficit, we got to within 30 at the end of Magny-Cours, should’ve been better than that as we had a small problem which contributed to Toprak’s crash in Race 1 and 11th place finish. Bottom line was we nearly got there but then the Barcelona race and Alvaro’s triple followed up Magny-Cours.

“From there, it became pretty difficult with only a couple to go. Toprak was just outstanding all year. There’s a couple of little things he knows he can do better in terms of how we prepare for the race weekend when things are perhaps not working as well as they should be.

“We need to continue developing the bike and Yamaha are working very hard in that way and, operationally, there’s a couple of things as a team. When your competitors are that strong, you can’t have any weaknesses, so we need to get rid of those and make a step forward.”