WorldSBK Donington: Razgatlioglu achieves ‘dream’ triple win

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

After winning the first race in convincing fashion on Saturday 2021 champion Toprak Razgatlioglu looked to achieve a new dream in WorldSBK - winning all three races in a single weekend.

Some green paint had stopped him before, at Magny Cours in 2021 (when he was dropped one position in the Superpole race for exceeding track limits). This time, even the combined green and red forces of Rea and Bautista could not halt his front-running prowess and he took both race wins on Sunday.

There was some work involved, though, said Razgatlioglu. “Friday we are sad because I was not really happy with my bike, but after my team’s incredible job every day, now I feel good with it - feeling like last year.

“It is possible to say now, ‘Toprak’s style has come back again.’ Now it’s very easy to try hard braking, very easy to pass the riders. Also, for me, this is a victory after the world champion. Finally three victories in Donington. I say always this is favourite track for me. Also, we are very strong.

“Just for the second race, I was a little bit waiting because Johnny followed me. I know, but I’m not killing the tyre. When I see in my board was 0.3 seconds, I pushed because normally a rider very easily follows the other rider closely. But, you see a little bit the gap, not easy to follow again.

” I know this. We are training always with Kenan. I see 0.3. I’m just pushing again. I saw 1’27 laps again. Anyway, I’m really happy. I took again the victory. This is really good because it is home race for my team, and three victories in one weekend. This is I think an incredible day.”

Toprak’s next WorldSBK dream to realise? “I don’t know. I’m thinking now!”

The championship fight is now on again, with Toprak 43 points behind the best rider Bautista, and in third place overall. “It’s not bad,” he said, with typical understatement. “I’m not looking at this. I’m just focused on the race. Also for Most next time, I like this track. I will keep fighting again for victory. We will see. The championship is not finished, I know. We have many races and we will see. Also last year, we came back late.”

Asked about how much of his recovery was down to a psychological improvement after a tough first four rounds - by a World Champion’s standards - Toprak spoke about his bike set-up improvements instead.
“This weekend, I’m feeling bike geometry is good,” he stated. “Just the problem is rear grip. Also Friday, I tried a race simulation and I was not feeling rear grip. Just felt spinning. I see that Johnny’s pace is very fast.

“For first race, I’m scared because I’m just trying my plan. I just try to follow Johnny, maybe fighting with him. But I start the race and I’m feeling very good grip because my team changed some setup. I don’t know what’s changing, but I’m feeling incredible grip. I try normally to save the rear tyre, but I’m feeling grip so I opened the gas more.

I felt it was a very good bike, and on Saturday the pace was unbelievable. Today I try again like yesterday but not possible because very hot conditions, very hot track. Also, everybody went a little bit slower than yesterday. I tried again my best. An incredible weekend for me.”

When asked is he was definitely back now, and that this kind of form will continue all the way, he said, “Not possible to say just one race. This is just one weekend. But, we will see in Most. In Most, I’m feeling the bike same like this and after the race we are fighting again.”

Maybe relaxing more is what has made the personal difference for Razgatlioglu too? These first four rounds were a slow start after such a strong 2021?

“Yeah, but, for me not easy because this year we are not easy start,” he said. “For me, I’m surprised because normally I’m not waiting like this. Anyway, after Misano, the Friday I’m feeling again a different bike. Now I’m very happy with the bike. I’m feeling like last year. I’m very relaxed, very easy riding, ride like my style.

“I very easy passed Jonny in the race. He passed me because of my mistake. I go wide, and he passed me, and I’m ready to pass I’m again. Now the bike is like my style, my setup. I’m enjoying. Finally, I ride like my bike. Now I’m very easy fighting every race.”