August 31 2021
Riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli are eager for more success as the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship heads towards the business end of the season with the eighth round at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours from 3-5 September.
The French Round has been a happy hunting ground for the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK team and its riders on separate occasions. Razgatlıoğlu, who calls Magny-Cours his favourite circuit, celebrated his first wins in the production-based WorldSBK Championship back in 2019 with two spectacular victories from 16th on the grid.
In 2020, when Turkish ace joined as an official Yamaha rider, the weather was not so kind in the Nièvre region and three days of heavy rain saw tricky conditions on track for the WorldSBK field. Rain could be on the cards yet again, as the forecast shows thunderstorms predicted on Saturday this week.
Whatever the weather, Razgatlıoğlu’s focus is only on winning the races ahead – and not his lead in the Riders’ Championship which is currently shared on points with Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea. The “lead” is due to a regulation which does not count Superpole Race wins in the event of a count-back at the end of the season.
With a new record in hand for the most consecutive fourth-place finishes (five in a row), teammate Locatelli is aiming to step back on to the podium this weekend but knows it will be tough to take the fight to the front. His consistency and increasing pace saw “Loka” jump from eighth in the riders’ standings to a seriously impressive fifth overall last time out in Navarra, with fourth not so far away.
Free Practice 1 will start on Friday morning at 10:30 (CEST) and allow 45 minutes of track running to get everything “dialled in” to the French circuit, followed by an afternoon session from 15:00.
“For me, France is a special place because of my first wins in 2019, but like I have said before: we focus only on the next races ahead. I am not thinking about the championship! I like the Magny-Cours circuit a lot, it has fast sections and areas for hard braking which I enjoy. My team has been working hard at every round to give me the best R1 for the races, and we have been ready to fight everywhere. It will not be easy, Jonny and Scott [Redding] are very strong, but we will see.”
“Last year Magny-Cours was a new circuit for me in World Supersport, so I will focus on the references with the R1 WorldSBK in Free Practice in the beginning. I think we can do very well there, I like the layout and we have been strong now for the last three rounds. The goal is to get closer to the front, so I hope we can keep working and carry the momentum this weekend. For sure I would like to improve on our “standard” position of fourth, which is becoming something funny with my team! If we can work on a good set-up on Friday, I think it will be possible to push on the maximum to get some good results again.”