April 09 2022
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider and defending champion Toprak Razgatlıoğlu made a positive start to his 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship campaign with a stunning pole position lap and third-place podium in Race 1 at MotorLand Aragon today.
The 25-year-old Turkish rider smashed the all-time record with a stunning 1'48.267 around the 5.077 km circuit, a lap that impressed many but just 0.006s clear of nearest rival Alvaro Bautista (Ducati). Teammate Andrea Locatelli completed a strong qualifying amongst stiff competition to put his R1 WorldSBK on the second row of the grid in sixth place.
Race 1 then set the stage for another “must watch” WorldSBK season ahead, as three manufacturers battled for the lead in the opening laps. Razgatlıoğlu led the way initially from Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Bautista, as the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK #1 set the fastest lap of the race on lap three – those at home would have also enjoyed watching the protagonists brake three wide into Turn 1 at the start of Lap 6!
By the middle of the race however, front tyre degradation hampered Razgatlıoğlu’s ability to fight for the win and he chose to bank the podium points available for third.
Locatelli maximised the performance of his package today, managing available grip with consistent pace throughout the 18-lap feature race to deliver a solid fifth-place finish – all despite a hectic opening lap which saw him initially slip to eighth.
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK will take to the track again tomorrow for the final day at Aragon, in the same format as 2021, with a short 15-minute Warm Up at 9:00 (UTC+2) that precedes the 10-lap Superpole Race at 11:00 and main 18-lap Race 2 at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P3
“For me not an easy race but after a good pole position, I tried my best. Normally for Yamaha this is not the strongest track, but I am fighting in the first laps for the win. But, in the last laps I start to drop back because the front tyre grip had a big drop and I start to feel the front sliding. But, third position is okay for today, even if I want more! The championship is very long, you know. Also, we take good points for the championship and tomorrow I will try again for a good position. Every day we are improving and we will try to find a bike set up that improves the front grip.”
Andrea Locatelli: P5
“It’s a good result for us to start the season in the top five – it’s not so bad, but I am not really happy about today because in the start of the race I lost a lot of places. So, I had to try and recover and I wanted to be able to try and close the gap with the front group but in the end it was not possible. We need to work a little bit more for tomorrow, but for sure we have seen that this track it is not easy for us. Now we will try to improve the bike set up to stay close to the front and see if we can fight for the podium tomorrow. We have a lot of data from the first race so let’s see what we can do.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK:
“Not a bad way to start the season, with a pole position and a podium for Toprak at probably our most challenging circuit. Toprak was competitive and very much in the fight for victory, but we suffered with front tyre degradation and the target will be to find a solution that gives him a more comfortable feel entering the corner and the opportunity to look after the front tyre. On Loka’s side, a very solid start indeed! Second row in qualifying was perfect and although a poor start and some clashes in the first part of the race meant the front group was gone, he maximised his potential to finish fifth and we couldn’t have asked for a lot more than that given the start. It was certainly an exciting opening WorldSBK race of the year and tomorrow we will try to be part of that excitement right until the end!”