Razgatlioglu gets the big WorldSBK finish he required| Gordon Ritchie | WorldSBK
After bagging Superpole, race one and the Sunday Superpole race, Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu was on course for a perfect Estoril weekend, until a lack of grip and drive allowed first Chaz Davies and then Scott Redding past to score a Ducati one-two in race two.
Nothing he could do about that one, but it was still a dream finish after a dream first win race winning start in Australia with Yamaha.
The rest of the year? Up and down, so to finish big was a must in many ways. Shame about his woes in the final one, he said.
“Close to three race wins but I do not understand why I had zero grip from the rear tyre, also from the first lap,” he told bikesportnews.com.
“Today in that final race the problem was the left hand corners. The right side was sliding but the left side is normally was not sliding, I know this from the Superpole race.
“In the final race I was always turning with the rear brake because of the very aggressive sliding. But, I was fighting and took third place. It has been a good race weekend for me.”
He was in some scraps when his tyre did not provide the push he wanted, with Davies, Redding and particularly Rea, who made an uncharacteristic slip-up and collided with Razgatlioglu as he fell.
“For two laps I had a little fight with Johnny. I spoke to him after the race. He said I went a little wide and if I had he was going to turn in, but my bike was coming again and we touched. But this is racing. I felt the touch! Right on my hip.
Chaz was very strong and I tried to follow him, but on the left side of the tyre he was gone. I tried under braking not possible not enough. Then my front started sliding but I was again on the podium. I had no grip but I podiumed.”
Razgatlioglu, who won his first ever Yamaha race in Australia, knew he needed a confidence-boosting set of results in Estoril to take into the off-season. He surely got them.
“I knew coming to the last race I needed podiums again before the season finished,” said Razgatlioglu. “I came away very strong so this weekend has been very good for me, my best of the year. The season is finished and now and again we will work in the winter. We will work on a new bike. I always say we need more power and electronics. I think now we have made a very good job.”
An improved Yamaha spec, even if not a fully new model, will be needed in 2020. “Yamaha has been coming to the Kawasaki level for power, but afterwards we need to ride,” said Toprak. “For this track the Ducati was very fast - but yesterday I won, and in the Superpole race too.”
Remarkably nobody used the X tyre in the Superpole race that Toprak won, as Razgatlioglu explained.
“There was no grip from the X tyre. Also between the SC0 and the X there was a very small change of grip, but I though the bike was better on the SC0 tyre. We put the X on and the balance was different.
“I think in the colder weather in the Superpole the X tyre was not working, and also destroyed. SC0 was better grip but in the afternoon conditions the rear tyre did not grip.”
Razgatlioglu finished fourth overall, beating his outgoing team-mate Michael van der Mark in the process.