Toprak Razgatlioglu again showed at Portimao WorldSBK that he is a force to be reckoned with, cutting up rough with with vastly more experienced riders around the Portugese track.
Razgatlioglu is all action on the big Kawasaki and the ZX-10RR appears to mostly let him get away with it but it is highly likely the Yamaha R1 he is to sit on next year will not.
The R1 is a bike that has to be ridden smoothly, wheels in line, whether it be in WorldSBK or British Superbikes. Alex Lowes, who is being replaced by the Turk, had to change his ways when he moved on to the R1.
Lowes won the BSB championship on a Honda which didn’t mind having its neck wrung, and the subsequent Suzuki he rode in WorldSBK needed its neck wrung to get anywhere. But Lowes had to change when he got the R1.
Team-mate Michael van der Mark is the same. He went from all-out on the Ken Kate Honda Supersport bike to a more conservative riding style on the R1 to suit the mood And it’s something Razgatlioglu will have to also achieve.
“The kid has speed, he has a lot of talent. I’m curious to see, if he is coming, how he will ride the bike,” said van der Mark in Portugal, being careful not to give the game away.
“I’m still struggling sometimes. Being aggressive is something you are doing for years. To change that is not easy, it’s difficult. For me it took quite a long time to ride more smoothly with this bike.”
There was no more a spectacular rider than Josh Brookes when he came to BSB on the HM Plant Honda and that transferred to the Suzuki, but when it came to the R1, Brookes also had to change his thinking - but it netted him a title in 2015.
Although not the same bike, Maverick Vinales’ natural style was perfect for the Suzuki GSX-RR in MotoGP but the Yamaha M1 is a different kettle of doughnuts, and he too had to make significant alterations, and is still doing so.