May 22 2021
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlıoğlu thrilled viewers in an exciting battle which saw him miss second position at the finish line by less than one bike length, in the opening race of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship at MotorLand Aragón today.
The sprint to the finish against Kawasaki’s Alex Lowes came following a meteoric rise through the field, after the 24-year-old Turkish rider was forced to start from the fourth row of the grid. Razgatlıoğlu was relegated to start from 10th position after his best qualifying time was deleted for exceeding track limits in this morning’s Superpole session, but he quickly rose to the podium positions by just lap five of 18.
As the race developed, TV viewers were treated to some of the closest competition possible at speeds of up to 314kph – with Razgatlıoğlu and Lowes even touching at points while trading places in the final laps!
Meanwhile, WorldSBK rookie Andrea Locatelli demonstrated a mature performance after qualifying 14th in his first ever Superpole session, making his way past seasoned competitors to finish in a strong 10th place. His debut race result bodes well for the coming season as an official Yamaha WorldSBK rider, as “Loka” looks to improve and increase his understanding with each and every session on track.
Cloud cover is expected to keep the ambient temperature below 18°C tomorrow for the 10-lap Superpole Race at 11:00 (CEST) and full-length Race 2 after lunch at 14:00. If today’s action is anything to go by, these will be another two races you don’t want to miss!
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – Race 1: P3
“Today we started very strong, even if last year I was not fast at this track – I have done a lot of good work with my team and they have done a very good job, because I could fight to be on the podium! It’s a good start for the first race to be on the podium, quite close to the winner, and I am very happy after starting on row four! It was a great battle with Alex, because we touch but this is racing and congratulations to him for passing me on the last corner – we were fighting so much for second position! We will see if there are some improvements we can make for tomorrow, we have seen a lot of riders struggle in some areas, but we will try with my team maybe some small differences to the set-up to improve the bike for the Superpole Race and Race 2. We will see – but I will try again for the podium!”
Andrea Locatelli – Race 1: P10
“I’m really happy about today, because in the end we make P10 which is not so bad for my first race! We need to work, but for sure today I learned to understand so much more, I’m confident because the bike is good and the feeling is there. Tomorrow is not going to be easy, but in some ways it will be better for me now that I understand more. But I am really happy, we work so well during the weekend with the guys, it’s a fantastic to work with this team. This was just the first opportunity for us and we will see tomorrow, but for sure I think we can improve again. For Toprak to make the podium shows it is possible to perform well here, and it gives me confidence to keep working on understanding more and looking to improve my riding style on the R1 WorldSBK.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“What a fantastic start to the 2021 WorldSBK season, a really exciting race! For Toprak to finish so close to the winner and cross the line in almost a dead heat for second place here at MotorLand Aragón, with the history we’ve had here, is honestly a little beyond expectation. Toprak rode a sublime race, after his qualifying penalty he had to be aggressive at the start and he was up to fifth place within a matter of corners, and after that he balanced aggressive riding with tyre management, using the softer X compound to great effect. We didn’t win, but that’s as good as I’ve ever seen Toprak race and it also demonstrates the steps both he and his R1 have taken for 2021.
"We’re also very pleased for Loka. He had a difficult start to the race but showed his intelligence, experience and skills to work his way consistently up into the top 10 – which is a really strong result for your first ever Superbike race. Tomorrow conditions look to be quite different with cloud and lower temperatures, difficult to say if this will be good or bad for the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK – but either way, today gives us a lot of confidence in what we may be able to achieve across the rest of the season.”