Razgatlıoğlu “Wins” Epic Final Yamaha Race
Razgatlıoğlu “Wins” Epic Final Yamaha Race
Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s Toprak Razgatlıoğlu crossed the finish line first after an epic duel for the WorldSBK history books – a “fans’ victory” in Race 2 at Circuito de Jerez in Spain today.
In the final race of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship, both Razgatlıoğlu and teammate Andrea Locatelli were demoted one position after the race had been completed due to running wide and touching the painted green section of the final turn – even if no advantage was gained.
By all accounts, the #54 rider should not have had a chance to win the final race of the season following the dominance displayed by Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) in Race 1 yesterday.
But ride to win he did – as the 27-year-old took his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK beyond the limit in an inhuman display of natural talent.
Overtake after overtake, in every possible scenario, between the two riders had everyone holding their breath right until the chequered flag.
Bautista tried to take the early apex of Jerez’ notorious Turn 13 on the very last lap, but Razgatlıoğlu was right there with him – putting his bike on the inside to block the Ducati rider on the exit for track position in a drag to the line.
Locatelli took an unfortunate slide in the Superpole Race but recovered to a strong P5 after a red-flag to create a successful sprint result.
The Italian wasn’t quite able to replicate his Race 1 podium pace and struggled with rear grip in Race 2, crossing the line in ninth position before the track limits penalty was applied.
With seven podiums to his name this season, Locatelli can be proud to achieve a fine fourth place in the Riders’ Championship behind WorldSBK’s “titanic trio”.
Ending his tenure at Yamaha after four successful years, Razgatlıoğlu will go down in history as the Japanese manufacturers’ most successful WorldSBK rider to date with and incredible 100 podiums from only 131 race starts – including 37 wins, 12 pole positions and 30 fastest laps.
His 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship-winning year will never be forgotten, as well as the last two seasons’ incredible battles.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P4 / Race 2: P2
“I passed the chequered flag in P1, this is good for me! I touched the green, track limits – but I am not understanding any penalty, I don’t see – just I feel my rear wheel sliding. I am not taking an advantage, but rules are rules. It is not easy to say anything more – I feel like I am winning, but Phil say I am P2 when I come into pit lane. My last race with Yamaha, I just try to do a good position – especially P1! I try for good memories for my last race and to win with Yamaha. I am a little bit sad, but I gave it more than 100% like Portimao but I need some luck – and last races I have not had much luck. In general, I am happy – a nice battle with Alvaro but just the last corner… After four years, thanks to my team – incredible job and I am feeling Yamaha like a family. I still have respect for Yamaha – we have very nice memories, many wins – we are World Champion in 2021 – and this is also my first World Championship so Yamaha is very important for me. All the team, all the guys are incredible. I am really enjoying four years with this team – especially last two years. It was the first time for me in 2020 working with a factory team, 2021 after we are champions I am feeling more and more warm working with the team. Everybody tries their best, this weekend all Yamaha here and everybody coming to see me for the last race. I am very happy for this – and I am sad because it is the last race and next year we are not together, but maybe in the future we are again.”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P5 / Race 2: P10
“I think it was a really good weekend after yesterday’s Race 1 – today we were also a bit lucky during the Superpole Race to get the fifth position in the end and improve a lot. It was a good position to restart, however I don’t know what happened during Race 2 but the feeling was a little bit tricky and the rear grip was really bad. To finish the season like this is a little bit sad. Yesterday was really positive day – another podium – especially after a difficult Friday. In the end it was another great season though, we had a lot of podiums and did a really good job overall – fast more or less in every race and many sessions. We need to look forward and prepare for next season in a positive way – to be strong again and focused in 2024. I want to say thank you to all the crew, on my side and also with Toprak – working together for these three years has been incredible to always improve and make progress on the bike.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“What to say? We thought that Portimao was one of the best World Championship motorcycle races ever seen – but Race 2 this afternoon in Jerez surpassed it. We knew Toprak would leave nothing on the table when it came to making the best possible goodbye to Yamaha and to the team, but that ride exceeded even our hopes and expectations. I know who won the race, Toprak knows who won the race and ultimately, Alvaro and Ducati know who won the race. The big slide on the exit of the final corner caused Toprak’s rear wheel to touch the track limits marking cost him time – it certainly didn’t gain him time, but the rules are the rules and it’s true they can work for you as well as against you. Loka suffered with a currently unexplained lack of rear grip in Race 2 which didn’t enable him to repeat anything like his performances from yesterday or the Superpole Race. Honestly speaking, salt was rubbed a little deeper in the wounds when he also infringed track limits on the exit of the last corner which cost us the Teams’ Championship after a tie with Aruba Ducati. I felt every single member of this project deserved at least that this year and, given his efforts in Race 2 today, certainly Toprak did. It has been a fantastic season, thanks to everybody involved. Toprak, we wish you luck in the future – and on behalf of Yamaha and all our partners, we would like to say a huge thank you and ‘aferin’.”