November 12 2022
Defending FIM Superbike World Champion and Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlıoğlu was simply sublime as he dominated every single track session and delivered a stunning Race 1 victory at the Mandalika International Street Circuit in Indonesia today.
Track records tumbled from Free Practice 3 onwards, as the Turkish ace got to grips with the evolving traction on the new asphalt – not only did his pole position time completely scrap the previous record, it became the biggest pole margin (1.052s from Jonathan Rea in P2) achieved in WorldSBK for the last 15 years.
Razgatlıoğlu’s full 21-lap dominance over Race 1 means he is now the “winningest” Yamaha WorldSBK rider with 28 wins, and is also written in the history books as the WorldSBK series’ milestone 900th race victor.
It was a big day for teammate Andrea Locatelli as well, who celebrated his first WorldSBK front-row start with the third-fastest lap time in Superpole to qualify behind Razgatlıoğlu and Rea. The 26-year-old Italian followed it up with a thrilling on track battle to finish fourth overall in Race 1, taking the fight to Alvaro Bautista in the opening stages and digging deep to finish strongly in one of his best performances this season.
The Riders’ Championship stays within mathematical reach for at least another day: now at a 77-point deficit to Bautista after the mammoth effort by robotic race-pace Razgatlıoğlu and the entire Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK team behind him.
Tomorrow provides two further chances to close the gap and take the fight to Phillip Island next week, starting with a 15-minute Warm-Up at 8:30 (UTC+8) and two points-paying races including the 10-lap Superpole Race at 10:30 and Race 2 from 13:30.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – Race 1: P1
“Today, I am very happy because we start strong and also FP3 in the morning we see very good lap time – and after qualifying an unbelievable lap time! For me, the race is most important – it was very good but not easy for everybody because very hot conditions. In the race, I have just one mistake but anyway we are not crashing and we finish the race with the win. On corner six, I touched the dirty line and after corner seven I close the gas because rear exit sliding – there is just one line, so I am very careful here. I’m not looking at the championship, just five points it is changing I think, but I am very happy today we are winning again. You know, I am just looking race by race and this weekend I try for three wins. Thanks to my team, they never stop working to give me the best possible R1.”
Andrea Locatelli – Race 1: P4
“It’s a positive day for us, for me and my team. We have been working hard since Friday so today is a positive day for us. Unfortunately, I lost the opportunity to stay a little bit with Johnny when I made a mistake after eight laps, because in the end my race rhythm was not so far from his, so we will try again for tomorrow. On the track you have just one line and you need to be every time constant and not make mistakes. It’s important to have a good confidence and not lose the racing line. I want to say thanks to my team because the bike is working really well and means I can push harder. I am really excited to be able to make my first front row today – it’s important for me, for my future and for me to believe in myself. Now, we’re looking forward to tomorrow, I think we can finish the weekend really good. I want to try to follow Toprak and take a good result, but it is also important to stay in the front group – we will see but we will try to enjoy until the end!”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK:
“Toprak’s been dominant all weekend, putting together an impressive 20-lap long run in FP2 yesterday with a faster pace and more kilometres covered than anyone else on the grid, and that form continued today with a blistering lap time in FP3 and pole position by over a second which is almost unheard of! Despite that, the race still wasn’t easy with over 60 degrees Celsius of track temperature and all the challenges of a constantly changing track surface. There was plenty to keep his attention, including one big mistake in Turn 7 – but in the end, the victory never looked in doubt and he was able to react to any pressure that was put on him. Congratulations to Toprak and all his crew for another fabulous effort. Loka has had his best Saturday of the season and as a team we worked very well together in qualifying. We got both riders out early, made sure we weren’t compromised by traffic or yellow flags in either run, and Andrea tucked in behind Toprak to put together a superb lap for his first front row start. One big error which was so easy to make on this track, in the last sector, cost him the chance to try to challenge Jonathan for the podium – but he re-found his rhythm for the end of the race, and a strong fourth position was well deserved.”