September 09 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu took his sixth win of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in France today, with a faultless performance on his Pata Yamaha Prometeon R1 WorldSBK.
Races results are always the priority, and that was certainly the case for Razgatlıoğlu after a less-than-perfect Superpole qualifying saw him start from the second row of the grid in P4 at his favourite circuit.
The slight disadvantage was quickly nullified as the team’s Turkish ace deployed his signature “hard braking” style into the Adelaide Hairpin (Turn 5) and made further decisive moves through the Complexe du Lycee (Turn 15 and the final chicane of Turns 16 and 17). Hitting the front on Lap 2, Razgatlıoğlu was challenged by Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) until a technical issue for the Spaniard removed him from podium contention. The second Ducati of Michael Ruben Rinaldi then took a run at Razgatlıoğlu, treating the French crowd to a game of cat and mouse for the win.
The #54 settled in behind Rinaldi from Lap 5 to 12 until he saw the Italian start to struggle with grip in the second half of the race. The two battled hard through Laps 12-14 until Razgatlıoğlu forced Rinaldi into a mistake at Turn 11 to take a decisive victory.
Teammate Locatelli was caught up in a messy Superpole session and accepted a penalty to start from P10 on the grid – where it was difficult for him to make initial progress forward in the opening laps. But by Lap 7, the #55 Yamaha WorldSBK rider had overtaken the two BMWs of Scott Redding and Loris Baz into sixth position. A thrilling fight with Danilo Petrucci (Barni Ducati) kept fans on the edge of their seats in the latter part of the race – and despite losing out after some aggressive passes from both riders, “Loka” held on to finish sixth at the chequered flag, passing Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) on the penultimate lap.
Tomorrow is the final day in France with plenty more points on offer during the Superpole Race at 11:00 CEST and Race 2 at the later time of 15:15, not before a short 15-minute Warm-Up at 9:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SP: P4 / Race 1: P1
“I’m really happy because after five weeks, again we win! I’m really happy to come back to Magny-Cours, because it is my favourite track and we win like last year – and also, like last year we are fighting with Michael! Thanks to my team, because good job this weekend – every session we improve my R1 but we need something small again to improve tomorrow. In general, I am happy! After 10 laps, my feeling was better against the Ducati because Michael’s tyre start to drop and I could see it was not easy for him to ride – but I always train for this! We keep fighting and the feeling on the brakes with the Yamaha is very strong, especially on this circuit. I hope tomorrow we have two more good races, and I hope we are winning again. Today, I dedicate the Race 1 win to Mirko Giansanti and the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team after the sad news of his passing.”
Andrea Locatelli – SP: P10 / Race 1: P6
“We were just a bit unlucky this morning in the Superpole, we were in P7 and then the organisation gave me three positions penalty, so this for sure did not help us in the first part of the race. Honestly, I was riding well and we learnt a lot in these hot conditions for tomorrow. The first race after a long time was not bad! To go with a good group and maybe fighting with Johnny would be a good target for tomorrow. I want to improve to be back with the top group and I think tomorrow we can make another step and maybe even fight for the podium. The R1 is working well, we see that we can be fast in all sessions – this is a good point, but we just need something to be more in front to be fighting for a good position. Tonight we will work and understand where we can improve.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“It’s been an unusual Magny-Cours weekend so far, highlighted by ridiculously high temperatures which need a completely different technical requirement in terms of finding grip, turning and acceleration. The team has responded well and despite a slightly tough qualifying session, it was fantastic to bring home another feature race victory. Toprak rode superbly to manage the situation, keep some life in the rear tyre and attack at the right time to win the race. From P10 on the grid it was always going to be difficult for Loka – but he rode a solid race even if he’s not been feeling physically 100% and we’ve got high hopes, that if he can achieve a decent Superpole Race result and improve his start position for Race 2, then he can get into the podium fight. Congratulations to Toprak and to his team, it’s unfortunate but it’s also impossible not to remember Race 2 in Most and the 25 points lost through no fault of rider, bike or team at that event. A 25-point gap in the championship really would have made things interesting – nonetheless we clawed a few back today, anything can happen and we’re looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.”