September 24 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu took further two trips to the podium today for Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK as the team recorded its best Aragon WorldSBK weekend ever, at the tenth round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship, with two second places in Race 1 and Race 2 as well as a thrilling third in the Superpole Race after fighting for the win.
Teammate Locatelli confirmed his confidence on the Teruel track as well with another fine fourth position this morning before a spectacular showing in Race 2 saw the Italian rider join a battle for the lead alongside Razgatlıoğlu in the opening laps. A potential Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK team two-three was thwarted on Lap 15 when Locatelli was forced to retire from P2 due to a damaged oil radiator – an almost unheard-of issue which Yamaha is investigating fully.
After taking back 20 points from main championship rival Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) yesterday, the team’s Turkish ace Razgatlıoğlu was fired up to try for victory this morning in the 10-lap Superpole Race – duelling with both Bautista and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) as has become a thrilling tradition in WorldSBK in recent years. Starting P3 on the grid allowed the #54 rider to bide his time before capitalising on an “open door” to P2 left by Bautista when the Ducati rider tried to challenge Rea for the lead. In the final lap, it looked like the race could have gone to any of these riders – but P3 was the result.
Race 2 saw the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK teammates start from P3 and P4 once again, but this time it was Locatelli who came out swinging with a fantastic late-braking manoeuvre into Turn 1 of the second lap to briefly take the lead. Bautista responded immediately, leaving Locatelli and Razgatlıoğlu to work together to create a comfortable gap from chasing Rea and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati). Following Locatelli’s retirement, Razgatlıoğlu rode conservatively to maintain his advantage and cross the line in second place to finish an extremely competitive event for the team.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P3 / Race 2: P2
“In general I am really happy! Friday for me was difficult, but together with my team we made a big improvement and this weekend I had three podiums in Aragon – this is fantastic for me! I was not sure if it was possible. Last race, my teammate Locatelli was very strong – his riding was very good and calm! I saw Alvaro was very strong and impossible to follow, so I just follow my teammate to try to save the tyre and wait for the last laps to start to fight. Then I saw Rinaldi coming and I know I need to pass for P2 – when I saw the smoke from Loka, immediately I pass him to be safe in this position. Loka made a big improvement, it’s bad luck for him to not finish the race – maybe we were fighting in the last laps and on the podium together! Now I am focused on Portimão and the last two rounds, I will try to do my best for Yamaha!”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P4 / Race 2: DNF
“Honestly, today was probably one of the best races in my life, I just had bad luck suffering a damaged oil radiator with two laps to go, and I could do nothing. It was a strong weekend in the end, we showed a lot of potential and we will see what we can do in Portugal. I feel really confident and I want to say thanks a lot to Yamaha and the team, because we work every weekend very hard and try to push on the bike and with myself. I understood a lot today during the races and I changed my style a bit to find more grip on the rear and we worked around the set up of the bike after the Superpole Race – we found a good solution with a bit of an advantage in the exit of the corner and also under braking. The potential is there, we need to be proud and continue like this!”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“The first thing is to reiterate what a great job the team and the engineers did between Friday evening and Saturday morning, to set up what became the most competitive races at Aragon that we’ve ever done. With a lap and a half left of the Superpole Race, a lot of the guys and I thought that Toprak was going to win – but just the way that things rolled out, that thrilling race ended with a super close third position, while Loka proved his credentials here at Aragon with a highly competitive fourth. Race 2 in hotter temperatures than yesterday saw the R1 WorldSBK again working very well. In particular, Loka showed new levels of racing spirit and aggression to get to the front and hold Toprak at bay for 15 of 18 laps. Such bad luck to suffer the damaged oil radiator, but there are so many positives for him to take from his performance. For Toprak, we didn’t expect to take 10 points out of Bautista here at Aragon but that’s what happened! He rode three very clever races and both riders give us increased motivation to keep fighting again in Portimão next week.”