October 01 2023
Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s Toprak Razgatlıoğlu put in the performance of his career today in both the Superpole Race and Race 2 at the Autodromo do Algarve (Portimão), in a bid to close the gap in the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship, but twice was cruelly denied victory at the final corner on the final lap.
A well-deserved team double-podium result in the Superpole Race was not enough to overcome the disappointment of repeatedly watching main rival Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) overtake Razgatlıoğlu onto Portimao’s main straight.
The Turkish talent left absolutely nothing out on the track today – overtaking Bautista no less than ten times, alternating between key hard-braking areas at Turns 1, 5 and 13 in Race 2 – but the Ducati rider responded every time on the exit of Turn 15 onto the long start-finish straight. Two second-place podiums for our #54 seemed little consolation, given the monumental commitment to victory.
Teammate Andrea Locatelli retook his place on the front row of the grid and converted his excellent pace from Saturday into a terrific third place podium this morning. While he dropped back a little in the final stages of the longer 20-lap test, he was well in contention for another run at the podium and pleased with his performance across the weekend.
While the Riders’ Championship looks all but out of reach for 2023, the Teams’ Championship is still open as Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK holds a seven-point lead over Aruba Racing (Ducati) going into the final round at Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto later this month from 27-29 October.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P2 / Race 2: P2
“End of the race I am not happy, we give everything – every corner – but again we lose the win because especially on the last corner exit, Alvaro and his bike are very strong. Just I am angry because every corner we are pushing more than 100% and only the last corner, the Ducati pass me. This is not easy for me to accept, because the feeling is that it is unbelievable – not real. I see the chequered flag and he pass me, if he passed me on the corner entry, this is easier to accept. My team did a really good job, I know, but in general I am not happy because we are not winning. This race I am just focus on winning, especially last four or five laps it was not easy to ride, I felt the front brakes locking and rear tyre drop – I tried more than 100% and I am still fighting. I say, I am not closing the gas, I push a lot to win and to finish second like this is not easy to accept. Thanks to Yamaha and my team, also everyone watching for your support, I am always fighting and never give up. I will try again to fight for the win in Jerez.”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P3 / Race 2: P5
“It was an amazing Superpole Race to finish on P3 and start again in the same position for Race 2. Unfortunately, it was a strange weekend to start from last on the grid yesterday and I lost the opportunity to work very well like we always do in a normal Race 1, to understand the bike and prepare for Sunday. So – this afternoon it was a little bit more difficult for me and we were a bit on the back foot in some small points – especially after 15 laps. But, in the end it was still a positive weekend – no mistakes, we got some good points and we were fast in the Superpole. We need just a little bit of improvement on the feeling, especially in the front, but I think we can say it was another very good weekend. I’m always pushing to try to be stronger, to finish the season well and try to prepare for the next season because it is important for me and for Yamaha.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“I don’t think either myself or the team has ever been more disappointed with a double podium this morning and a second place this afternoon. Normally in life, you get what you deserve – but I really felt today, especially in Race 2, that Toprak’s spirit, efforts and speed absolutely deserved a victory. Of course, Alvaro is also riding spectacularly well – Race 2 demonstrated two riders at the absolute peak of their abilities – but coming out on the wrong side of the win in the last corner twice today was pretty devastating. On Loka’s side: great qualifying, great third place this morning and a slightly disappointing end to Race 2 slipping back from podium contention to fifth in the last few laps. Thanks to both riders and the full Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK team for maximising our performance as always.”