Toprak Razgatlioglu’s truly astounding second place finish at Donington Park last time out was not replicated in practice or race one at Brno’s WorldSBK round, as the tall Turkish rider qualified 15th, before finishing tenth in the first race of the Czech weekend.
The reason was simple, too much grip and push from the back tyre compared to the available grip from his front. Fixing it proved difficult. Even with the help of Jonathan Rea’s settings, and in spite of losing a lot of Friday track time to rain and then changing grip as the surface cleaned up.
“This weekend in the first dry free practice session, the front was sliding, always, and on the right side.” Drastic action was needed and the literal number one Kawasaki rider came to his aid, even if it was more of the same trouble, only different. “I changed to Johnny’s set-up and I tried that but I crashed after, on the right side. So we came back on the set-up to what we used before.”
Bizarrely, as his rear tyre lost grip in the race his bike became easier to ride, as the slides almost balanced each other out. “The race was different because in the last laps I was feeling good,” said Toprak.
“Tenth was good - but without any problems and no front end sliding I could come close to the front group, maybe. I hope not have the same problem tomorrow. Maybe today in the first laps I could have pushed better but when the tyre was finished the bike felt better. So maybe the rear tyre was pushing the front at the beginning. The bike was good in Donington but not here.”
The help from Jonathan Rea is still forthcoming, even after he beat the World Champ in his own back yards two weeks ago. “Jonathan helps me a lot, always,” said Toprak. “In tests and sometimes in the race and I can try his set-up.”
Despite all his problems, Razgatlioglu was still the top Independent rider in race one.