Misano WorldSBK: First laps rein in Razgatlioglu - ‘I’m not really fast’

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

It has been, by the standards of a World Champion, a difficult start to a WorldSBK title defence in 2022 for Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Nine races in before Misano started - no wins. He was slipping well behind Jonathan Rea in the points, and way behind Alvaro Bautista, the convincing championship leader.

When his bike broke down on him on Saturday, losing him a seemingly certain podium finish, it looked like the pressures of the world were on Toprak’s shoulders. Ten and Zero, as the Americans may say. So cometh the eleventh hour, cometh the man in the ten lap Superpole Race.

The Yamaha rider just pushed as hard as he could from the off, set a new lap record and beat the otherwise unbeatable Bautista by over two seconds. Winning business is back on track, but as always, Razgatlioglu was playing it cool and calm.

“For me is a very good race,” he said in the post race media conference. “We improved after the technical problem. We improved the bike, especially the engine brake. But the afternoon race had very hot conditions. Also I used the old SCX tyre and not the new SCX. In the Superpole I used the old SCX, and also every lap I’m feeling good. But in hot conditions, the old SCX is not working. After six or seven laps I’m feeling too much spin. But I keep fighting for the win.

“After T8, I lost the front tyre. After that I said, ‘OK, second position enough for today’, because Alvaro is very fast in the straight. The Ducati is very fast. In some sectors I’m coming closer. Some sectors he was a little bit faster. After the tyre started to drop, he rides alone.

“Anyway, I’m happy we are again on the podium in race two. I just need one (full) race in P1. We will see in Donington.”

Razgatlioglu’s team made a change in set-up for him on Sunday and that made all the difference. “Yeah, but yesterday I felt the bike was very bad - because the setup is not good like my style. But today, this morning, I’m feeling the bike is much better. Also in hot conditions the engine brake was not easily working. The rear tyre did not grip like this morning. In the cold conditions always the tyre grip is much better. In hot conditions, I’m feeling the engine brake less and it is not easy to ride - not like this morning.”

Tyre grip issues seem to have been the main issue for Razgatlioglu in 2022, as always there seems to be a drop from the front or the rear - more than the other riders? Toprak said of this, “No. Also in the first laps I’m not really fast. After I was fighting with Alvaro, we see is a good lap time, but before, my lap time was not so really fast. In the hot conditions the grip is not like this morning. After some laps, at the full lean angle, I just feel spin.

“The Ducati is very fast in the straight. I come with the braking, and after I try early opening of the gas. So, I’m eating the tyre. After some laps, I’m not feeling good grip.”

Picture: GeeBee Images
Picture: GeeBee Images