WorldSBK Argentina: Razgatlioglu ‘angry but time to forget’| Gordon Ritchie | WorldSBK
2021 WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu was in an apologetic mood after he fell on the first lap of race one at San Juan Villicum, getting too eager to prevent Alvaro Bautista from running away out front. Toprak just entered T9 too hot, off line on the dirty asphalt and crashed. His bike just missed Bautista, and ran way into the gravel trap.
Razgatlioglu restarted and scored a single point for 15th place, having lost half a minute or more due to his fall. Bent handlebars and all, he still managed to pass enough backmarkers to score a single point. With Bautista winning the race Razgatlioglu was still second overall on Saturday night, but he ended up 80 points adrift of his Ducati rival.
Toprak explained his fateful first lap moment by saying, “I tried to pass Alvaro because he has a big advantage in the straight. I tried to exit the straight at the front, but I crashed and low-sided. It was a big mistake for me after two years.
“After the crash, I’m very angry because I said, ‘why the first lap you try pushing hard?’ Because also I’m thinking again, Ducati has an advantage in the straight. I need to pass him directly. But anyway, now I’m not changing the race. I forget. Tomorrow is a big day for me. We have two more races and I try my best.”
Had that crash not happened, the new pole position record holder from just a short time before race one was not sure if he would have had the pace for Bautista or not.
“I don’t know if I go to Alvaro, but we are fighting for the podium,” he confirmed. “But Alvaro is very strong, especially in long straight. He is doing 04, 05 fast every lap. But, we will see tomorrow because I’m trying my best again. I need to podium again for tomorrow.
“For me, this has been a very difficult day. Also I said sorry to the team because everybody works their best but we crashed the first lap and I’m angry for this. Anyway, now I forget the first race. Now I’m looking the superpole race directly, because I need a good starting position.”
Razgatlioglu got going again, but the crash had its consequences for his factory R1. “In the race, I had a big problem because the handlebar closed (bent inwards and down).” He disagreed that in general El Villicum is a difficult place to pass, with just one real opportunity. “No. I think corner nine can be an easy overtake, because you turn more fast corner nine and corner eight easy passing. But I pass more inside because he [Alvaro] also tried really hard braking. I tried more, and I go more directly inside. Maybe I stay a little bit wide. I think I caught Bautista. I go more inside for to stop, but I lose the front. In corner nine and eight, there is just one line. Outside a little bit dirty. Also, I entered the dirty line.”
In Razgatlioglu’s own defence he said, “You need to directly pass, because normally Alvaro’s style is not the first lap to go alone. I know this because I have seen him. I understand he tries to go. I try to pass him directly. For him easy. I think he’s not tired in the race. We are always on the limit because we know in the straight the Ducati is very fast, and we’re pushing a lot more than Ducati in all the corners.”
Another reason for Razgatlioglu to push hard was that he cannot use the SCX higher performance tyre.
“Yeah but the tyre, Ducati is working with the X but Yamaha is not possible working with the X tyre here,” said Toprak. “Last year yes, but this year not possible. We use the SC0. I think tomorrow I use the SC0 again because tomorrow will be even more hot.”