Turkish WorldSBK star Toprak Razgatlioglu will make his Suzuka Eight-Hours debut this year when he joins Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea in the works Kawasaki squad.
The Puccetti Racing star has never competed at the iconic endurance event before but has the steady hands of veterans and multiple winners Rea and Haslam at his side in a team run for 2019 by the KRT WorldSBK squad, headed by Guim Roda.
“This is my dream team. I am ready, always, and we will see how it goes. I am a fan of the Eight-Hours race but this will be my first time riding,” said Razgatlioglu.
“I am so lucky to be in a team with Johnny and Leon; it feels incredible. I have ridden once before in the Japanese Superbike Championship, last year.
The Japanese Kawasaki team told me that it was a similar bike to the Eight-Hours machine, and the main difference should be the endurance style fuel tank.
“The biggest difference from WorldSBK racing for me will be the Bridgestone tyres. It is like a dream to ride at Suzuka in the Eight-Hours because it is an incredible track.”
Kawasaki have finished on the podium three times in the last three years and started the 2018 race from pole after an astonishing lap from Rea.
In those three races, they have been beaten by the might of the works Yamaha team which is expected to again field Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark.
Honda will also return with a works team with Leon Camier partnered probably by his WorldSBK team-mate and former winner Ryuichi Kiyonari.