October 28 2023
Teammates Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli took a well-deserved ride down WorldSBK’s “Victory Lane” together after the pair crossed the line second and third respectively in Race 1 at Circuito de Jerez in Spain today.
A less-than-perfect Superpole qualifying session was quickly forgotten, as Razgatlıoğlu rocketed his way from seventh on the grid to second place by Lap 2 – a progression statistic arguably bettered by official Yamaha compatriot Locatelli who made his own way through from 10th to fifth in just one lap!
The #54 Turkish rider challenged main championship rival Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) for the win but despite hanging onto his back wheel through the early part of the race, was unable to get close enough to make a pass for victory – conceding the Riders’ Championship in the process after taking the fight all the way to the final round this weekend.
“Loka” however was a star player of Saturday’s overtaking action – including a spectacular move on the inside of six-time WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea in the final turn onto the main straight. The Italian’s mid-race pace was superior to both Rea and Kawasaki teammate Alex Lowes, which in combination with the #55 rider’s race craft helped deliver a terrific third place at the chequered flag.
The result keeps Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s Teams’ Championship hopes alive, with two final races tomorrow on the last day of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship – after Warm-Up at 9:00 CET, the Superpole Race follows at 11:00 and Race 2 at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SP: P7 / Race 1: P2
“Every race weekend we have kept fighting for the championship, Alvaro is very strong and he deserves it – he did many wins and we had good battles – I am fighting even more than him I think! In the last few races, I am pushing for the win and we took very good points to keep the championship going until the last races. Today I keep fighting with him, the first laps were ok but when the rear tyre start to drop it was not possible to accelerate like him. We keep doing our best and again finish the race P2, but we have two more races and we will see what is possible – I will try again best position. There are many people from Yamaha here this weekend to be with me, I am waiting for Race 2 – we will see tomorrow.”
Andrea Locatelli – SP: P10 / Race 1: P3
“It was a great race honestly – I was really confident to push from the beginning and recover a lot of positions. I did some small mistake in the middle laps, which meant I overtook Alex and Jonathan a little later in the race so I needed to manage my position a bit more until the end. My R1 felt good on the rear and I was able to manage the rear tyre – I think we did a really good job and let’s see what we can do tomorrow. All riders will want to improve so we need to make sure we are there again to fight. We were just a bit unlucky in qualifying and lost the opportunity to start more in front, but in the end I think this was one of the best races for me to recover and finish in the top three. I am really happy to be on the podium here in Jerez! Starting from P10 in the Superpole Race will be hard, it will be important to recover some positions again to be able to start well in Race 2.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“First of all congratulations to Alvaro and Ducati on a well-earned World Championship title – they never give those away for free and across the season they have been a formidable competitor. For our guys, it was a challenging day in terms of qualifying but both Toprak and Loka turned the situation around this afternoon. Toprak fought his way onto Alvaro’s back wheel almost immediately, and Loka ground his was forward from 10th on the grid to a superb podium. Congratulations to the team and both riders – it’s been a very positive day here in Jerez and let’s hope we can go we can go even better tomorrow.”