Catalunya WorldSBK test: Razgatlioglu ‘working for the championship’

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

After a stunning win in his first ever factory Yamaha race at Phillip Island - the only WorldSBK round held so far - Toprak Razgatlioglu has already proven his championship challenge is a serious one in 2020.

He took time to sort out a fast way around a Catalunya track that is new for him, but he got going properly, even after a big day-two crash.

“The first day I was feeling not good because we tried some new parts,” explained the rider most observers judge as the best young Superbike competitor of all.

“This morning, today, we had a good start because I felt much better on the bike, with very good turning and stopping.

We are happy because for me this test was very important. The first time I arrived at this track and I like it - and I ‘knew’ it from the MotoGP games! Normally it is my favourite track… and I rode it for the first time these two days.”

His fall was a fast one, and painful, but he got going again to finish fifth overall, thanks to his Thursday morning lap time of 1’41.218.

“I had a big crash but I was very lucky because nothing was broken, only painful and I rode the bike again. I crashed in the exit of corner seven. Not a highside, but similar. A very difficult crash. After four months away, I was feeling a lot of pain.”

Despite all this pain he got a good amount of prep work done in dry, hot and slightly greasy track conditions, saying, “Normally we work on electronics and suspension, as we tried a different set-up for turning the bike. We need a good set-up for all the tracks but today it was feeling much better.

This morning we pushed for a good time on a race tyre and after we tried again a different set-up and new parts, but we are happy as it was a good test from me.”

The break for Razgatlioglu was long, but busy, as he kept up a strong two-wheeled training regime.

“After Phillip Island we were training on a 250 bike, all days, and when I rode the R1 Superbike first time in months, I did not have a different feeling,” he said about getting to know a bike he has only been riding in pre-season, and that first race weekend in Australia.

“Normally I miss my bike and I rode very easy. I was learning the track on the first day but now I am happy, as I have ridden the R1 for two days. I go back home now but I will not stop when I go back, I will ride all days, as the next race in Jerez is very important. This season we have six races now on the calendar and my favourite track, Magny Cours, I am happy.”

Razgatlioglu’s first year with Yamaha is his first in an official team, and on an official bike. He is already running at the top level, with 17 podiums, including three race wins, from 64 career starts.

Asked about his ultimate 2020 ambitions, he said, “We work for the championship and my big dream is to be World Superbike champion. This year I see very close the world championship but I know that this is WorldSBK and all the riders are very fast. Johnny is five times world champion and really fast. But we are fighting.”