June 03 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu demonstrated grit once again to deliver his 12th podium of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship today at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”.
In one of the most processional 2023 WorldSBK races to date, Race 1 was decided almost before the lights went out. Hotter temperatures meant the series field were largely unable to battle each other as many riders struggled with grip across the 20-lap distance, reduced from 21 after a delayed start.
The first points-paying race of the weekend came after a frustrating Superpole which denied Razgatlıoğlu and teammate Andrea Locatelli the opportunity to start on the front row. Both Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK riders were on their best laps when qualifying was cut short 1’45 from the end due to a red flag – after Razgatlıoğlu had already broken the track record on his initial run.
When Race 1 started, the Turkish ace did everything he could to stay with his main championship rival Alvaro Bautista and Michael Ruben Rinaldi but was unable to compete with the Ducati duo, forced to settle for P3 at the chequered flag.
For “Loka” it was a day to forget: the red-flagged Superpole saw him start from P11 on the grid and he was simply unable to find a good feeling with a lack of rear grip from start-to-finish in Race 1. Both he and his crew are hopeful to find a solution to return the 26-year-old Italian’s confidence to top-five and podium contention tomorrow.
Thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow could provide an opportunity to shake things up and capitalise – starting with Warm Up at 09:00 local time (CEST), the all-out Superpole Race at 11:00 and lastly, Race 2 at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SP: P2 / Race 1: P3
“Normally I am not waiting like this, especially in the first race, because the confidence is very high but the track temperature was completely different not like in testing. Ducati always very strong in hot conditions and you see all the front bikes, you know just Ducati – Alvaro and Michael, Petrucci, Bassani. But I am very happy to finish third position – I tried more than 100% in the race and we are on the podium. I hope tomorrow we improve the set-up and I hope also the weather is more cold, then maybe we are fighting for the win – we will see. After FP2, we already improved the bike and we saw very good pace, just I need the small step and more grip for Race 2.”
Andrea Locatelli – SP: P11 / Race 1: P12
“The feeling was so good in qualifying and honestly, it was a good opportunity to start in front because the potential was high. But, it was a bit of bad luck today, especially on the second tyre because we found a lot of smoke in Sector Three in the fast corner so we lost the opportunity as the marshals gave the red flag. So we could not improve the time and we had to start P11. During the race, I don’t know what happened today but I managed the race with big sliding in the rear and no grip. In every lap I did the same lap time and I could do nothing more – I tried to push but it was really difficult because from the beginning to the end it was all the same. I don’t know what happened, it was really strange because the objective was not to win the race but it was to do much better than this. Yesterday the rhythm was not bad, so today feels like a drama honestly. I am a bit sad for the team because we try to always push for a good result – but tomorrow we will try again.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“We saw a great step in performance between FP3 and qualifying from both of our riders – Toprak smashing the lap record early to go provisional pole and only a very unlucky red flag, when Toprak and Loka were on their best laps stopped us achieving pole position and probably both bikes on the front row. The temperature was completely different for the race at two o’clock and unfortunately, our main competitor had a bigger margin than us in these conditions. Toprak rode the wheels off his R1 WorldSBK as he always does, maximised the result which is all we can ask for – and has worked hard with his team to ensure that tomorrow we can take another step to see if we can challenge for victory particularly in the Superpole Race to start with. Loka’s race was one to forget, he is currently third in the championship – he is not a P12 rider – but he had no rear grip from start to finish and was a bit baffled by the lack of rhythm and lack of performance. There was nothing wrong with his R1 WorldSBK, but he did not have the feeling he needed to go faster. So, we will be working hard across the team to make a big step forward tomorrow.”