WorldSBK Most: Double winner Razgatlioglu brushes off hard passes

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

Now on a total of seven WorldSBK race wins in 2022, when what feels like five minutes ago he had struggle dot record even one, Toprak Razgatlioglu and his Pata Yamaha are now back to top form.

He’s won six races now, but he did not enjoy every aspect of Race Two, which he eventually won in fine style. “After fifteen laps, yes, I was enjoying it, but before, no, because we are fighting.”

Strange because Toprak always enjoys a scrap. It’s how he trains, racing other riders on smaller bikes, shoulder-to-shoulder.

“Yeah, always I enjoy to fight. Just one problem. Alvaro’s bike is very fast. I’m not enjoying it on the straight. Braking yes, but I follow him. On the straight, he is very fast. I’m in front of him, I’m enjoying. He just passed me and after, I lost him again in braking. But anyway… a good race.”

On Sunday in the long race Razgatlioglu had enough tyre for all 22 laps, and then used it to great effect near the end.

“Yesterday my rear tyre dropped. Also, I’m not easy pass Jonny and Scott. But today we improved, thanks to my team. Every day we improve, but especially today with a big step. I need rear grip after fifteen laps. First lap I don’t need grip, and also I’m able to keep the tyre.

“After I followed Johnny and Bautista, I see Bautista start to go and pass Johnny, and after I tried to pass Bautista. After I passed Bautista, I rode more relaxed. I see in my board the gap, and I see my lap time more fast. I rode more relaxed.”

Razgatlioglu said it was the greater confidence from his lat tyre grip that saw him ride in a more controlled manner than day one at Most.

“The better feeling with the tyres,” he affirmed. “I was feeling good grip after fifteen laps. Okay, I’m spinning but better than yesterday. Also I saw this 31.7 lap time. I’m feeling good motivation after that because 1’31.7 is a very, very good lap time after fifteen laps.”

In the Superpole Race Razgatlioglu and Rea even touched on the final lap, as Rea dived inside to make a pass in the only place he thought he could make it stick.

For Razgatlioglu, OK, he understood. Having made a hard pass on Scott Redding in Race One on Saturday, and then having Redding complain about him, Razgatlioglu had memories of it in his head when he said, “The first five laps is very good, but after five laps big drop in rear tyre. Also, Johnny was coming. I said, ‘OK, I’m ready to fight again.’

I see that Jonny, the rear grip is much better than me. I need always pass him, because he’s faster than me. The last lap, the corner 15, he’s more strong than me. I try in the middle of the braking the corner. He’s also trying to pass, because just one chance. I’m not strong in this corner. He needs to pass me for the good position. Also, I open a bit late. After he goes wide.

“But anyway, I’m not talking like Scott Redding, because this is the race. Really, this is the race. Sometimes we clash together. Sometimes not. Jonny went wide, and after we finish the race, the respect is together again. This is the race. Everybody tries to be, in the last lap, in a good position. Everybody is fighting for this. This is a part of racing. For me, a very good weekend. Two wins and one second position.”

There was some surprise in the watching fans and commentators that both Razgatlioglu and Rea were fighting early on in the second full 22-lap race, as they had on Saturday. Surely it loses them both valuable lap time, with a potent force like Alvaro Bautista just waiting to pounce?

“Like before, he passed me, I passed him,” said Razgatlioglu. “After, I take his board. Three laps he is not passed me, an after we start again. Sometimes fighting, waiting, and after - start round two, round three. Sometimes it’s not good fighting in the race because the other riders are coming.

But, this race, my plan in the first laps was to try and go ahead - but maybe I need to enjoy with Bautista. After, I followed Johnny and Bautista because I needed to keep the rear tyre for the last laps. It worked well because now we have the win.”

Razgatlioglu, with five race wins in the past six races, would prefer to keep going now rather than have a long summer break of five free weekends. “No, I think better like after Donington we come here. I think better like this. This is too much break. After Donington, this is very good.

“One week free and the other week race again. This is very good. But now, for five weeks, I don’t know. We will miss the bike. We are riders. We need to ride. I don’t like the long break because we re-start the season. This is my job and I love it, this job. I think better one week break, one week race, one week break, one week race. I like this. I don’t like a long break.”

It will not be all holiday for Razgatlioglu, as he joins what appears to be half the paddock at a test in Montmelo in late August. “Yeah, we have a test in Catalunya. After also I am busy. Not a break for me. Just one week, maybe two weeks. After, I go to Catalunya and after I go to Cadwell Park in the UK (for a PR thing). After, I go back home again. Then we go to Magny-Cours.”