September 10 2023
Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s Toprak Razgatlıoğlu doubled up in spectacular fashion for a second race victory this weekend in the 10-lap Superpole Race at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in France, followed by second place in Race 2 later today. Teammate Andrea Locatelli fought hard to deliver two fourth-place finishes, putting Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK 32 points clear in the lead of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship Teams’ Championship.
Scorching temperatures continued in the late summer heatwave today, with the mercury topping 34 degrees Celsius and more than 51 on the asphalt this afternoon.
Track action was equally hot, with an intense battle for the win in the Superpole Race as Razgatlıoğlu made an aggressive start from P4 on the grid to go with the two red bikes of Alvaro Bautista and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati). The #54 rider was all over the back of the pair and managed a “two-for-one” manoeuvre to take the lead – signalling the start of the three-way battle. On Lap 5, Razgatlıoğlu out-braked both riders to take the lead once again, before Bautista removed his own teammate from contention at Turn 5. Razgatlıoğlu was then free to manage the pace and collect his second race win of the weekend.
Race 2 was a more protracted affair – after Razgatlıoğlu started from pole position, a red flag on Lap 5 forced a full restart and saw the race distance reduced to 17 laps. When the #54 rider restarted from third on the grid, he was unable to follow eventual Race 2 winner Bautista in the hot conditions but treated French fans to another classic WorldSBK fight as he traded positions with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) right until the end, sealing P2 and his fastest lap of the race on the final tour.
“Loka” pushed hard to recover from P7 on the grid in the Superpole Race to finish fourth, giving it his all and setting his own best personal time on Lap 10 in attempt to close down Rea for the podium. A difficult start in Race 2 put him on the back foot in P6 for the restart, however, the young Italian dug deep and worked his way through to a strong fourth place again by the final chequered flag of the weekend.
With the French Round concluded, just three venues (and nine races) remain in the 2023 WorldSBK calendar – Aragon, Spain in just over a week, followed immediately by a trip to Portimão in Portugal and the season finale at the end of October in Jerez (Spain).
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P1 / Race 2: P2
“Normally in the second race I am expecting Alvaro to come through, because in hot conditions he is a very strong rider – especially this track and with the Ducati acceleration. But in general, he did a very good job – pace is very strong. I tried to follow him but after two laps it was not possible – I was fighting with Johnny, then after I just try to follow him for the last five laps because he is very strong. For Race 2, we tried a different set-up but my R1 was not so easy. I enjoyed fighting with Johnny, I am enjoying fighting with the legend but I need the P2! Last lap, I tried more than 100% to get it. For me, it was a really good weekend after five weeks’ break, two wins and one second position – thanks to my team for a good job in every session. I am just thinking race by race, fight for good position and we will see.”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P4 / Race 2: P4
“I’m very happy, especially about Race 2 – fortunately after restarted the race, I was feeling much better on the bike and could push right until the end and I finished in P4. For me, we had really good results here in Magny-Cours made a really big improvement – also compared to Most. So let’s see what happens in the next rounds! But for sure, it is a good end to this weekend with a good feeling and a good step forward, so I am really excited to go to Aragon now. In the Superpole Race, we were close to the podium but lost a little bit in the first four or five laps – I recovered a lot under braking compared to Jonathan, but I lost a little bit on the exit of the corner so it was difficult for me to overtake! We need to be happy, we brought home really good results – also for the championship and we will see what happens in the next races.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“It’s been a great weekend’s work by Toprak, Loka and the whole team in unusually difficult conditions! Loka rode a brilliant Superpole Race, challenging Jonathan for the podium on the very last lap – and backed that up, after an uncertain start, with another really strong ride to secure his second P4 of the day in Race 2. This hasn’t been his strongest circuit in the past, so it’s another sign that his confidence is building. Magny-Cours certainly is one of Toprak’s favourite hunting grounds though, and two victories plus a very enjoyable fight with Rea in Race 2 rounded off the weekend nicely. Thanks to the whole team and all of our partners, we’ll keep pushing right until the end of the season because it’s not over yet.”