June 04 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu was twice the “bridesmaid” finishing second in the Superpole Race and Race 2 at Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” in Italy today, at the fifth round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship today.
It was a case of bad luck in the 10-lap Superpole Race this morning, when finally the opportunity to take the fight to championship rival Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) presented itself, it was cruelly taken away with three laps remaining with a red flag which ended the race. Razgatlıoğlu masterfully-managed the strengths of his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK to attack Bautista in the corners, with a combination of hard braking and superior corner speed through the first sector. Taking the inside line through Turns 4-5, the Turkish ace took the lead on the opening laps, then regained it on Lap 5 after setting the fastest race lap of the weekend – an all-time race record (1’33.174). Bautista took back the lead on Lap 7 at Curvone, as Razgatlıoğlu set himself up ideally to respond before the red flag ended his pursuit for victory.
Race 2 was a different story, where the key to success was once again a combination of fast race pace and tyre management with higher temperatures in the afternoon. Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s #54 rider got the hole-shot into Turn 1 but was quickly overtaken by the two Ducati machines of Bautista and Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Razgatlıoğlu settled into his race rhythm behind Rinaldi before making a superb pass, after which the Italian made a mistake – and crashed, as the Yamaha Racing-blue rider pulled away to secure second place.
On the opposite side of the pit box, fortunes reversed for teammate Andrea Locatelli who recovered from a disappointing Race 1 to finish P7 and P6 in today’s races. “Loka” took a step in performance to hold off a strong attack from Danilo Petrucci (Barni Ducati) in the long test of Race 2 to retain P3 in the Riders’ Championship behind Razgatlıoğlu heading into the middle part of the season.
Donington Park is up next, the site of Razgatlıoğlu’s terrific treble in 2022 where he dominated all three races in style, taking place in just over three weeks’ time from 30 June to 2 July.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P2 / Race 2: P2
“Not easy races! Especially Race 2 because the pace is very strong, I just tried to stay with Michael and finally I see his tyres start to drop, I pass directly – but after he is making some mistake and he crashed. I am just feeling he touched me and sorry for this, this is race. In general, I am not really happy because my plan for this weekend was winning – especially the Superpole Race, I am really close to winning, but for me is bad luck because the red flag. It’s okay, not a bad weekend because I did three podiums and I am enjoying the Superpole Race – it is very good because we have the chance to fight, if I ride alone I am not enjoying!”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P7 / Race 2: P6
“I am still a bit sad about this weekend, because I would have liked to do something more. But it was not easy, especially yesterday in Race 1 – I don’t know what happened but it was a big problem with the feeling on the rear tyre. So, in the end P6 in Race 2 I am not so happy but not so far from the podium and it’s a big improvement so we now need to look forward. I am happy about the fight today, because we did 21 laps without a mistake with Petrucci behind – if I even made a little mistake I would lose the position, but I tried also to fight to close the gap to Xavi Vierge but maybe with a little bit more we could have also fought for the podium. We have another opportunity at the end of this month at Donington, it is a good track to understand if we can improve a bit. The big problem here was on the braking points, so in the UK it will be good to understand if it is the same or we can work on this part – then we will see. I want to say always thanks to Yamaha, because we are working so hard and pushing for more.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“Honestly, it’s been a great day here in Misano – massive crowd, super atmosphere and the rain held off until it was time to pack up. It’s impossible to say if Toprak would have won the Superpole Race this morning if it weren’t for the red flag, but one absolute guarantee is that it would have gone until the last corner of the last lap. There’s absolutely no way he was letting Alvaro go in that one. So that was a disappointment not to have the chance to win, but overall we took a great step in performance today. Race 2 was impressive and alongside that, following his most difficult Saturday ever in WorldSBK, P7 and P6 was a huge improvement for Loka. It’s been a tough weekend in some ways but everyone’s very focused and this was reflected in everything we did on track. On to Donington and only victory will keep us happy now.”