July 02 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK delivered the goods at Donington with a decisive Superpole Race victory at Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s home round in the UK today, at the final day of the sixth round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship.
Another superb performance was delivered in the feature-length Race 2 later this afternoon where the Turkish ace led for near-on the first 13 laps – but was unable to respond to the Ducati package carrying championship-leader Alvaro Bautista in the second half of the race and forced to settle for a close second.
Donington’s 50,000-strong crowd was treated to a spectacular Superpole Race with a thrilling three-way fight for the win, as the 10-lap sprint levelled the playing field between the three different machines of Razgatlıoğlu, Bautista and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki).
Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK teammate Andrea Locatelli took a circuit-best fourth place in the same race – one place higher than his fifth in Race 1 yesterday. Superior pace and excellent passes propelled the Italian 26-year-old forward from P7 on the grid, with an excellent overtake on WorldSBK-stalwart Alex Lowes sealing the deal on the final lap. Challenges with rear grip hampered his efforts for a repeat result in Race 2 though, and “Loka” found himself pushed to the back of a five-rider group, finishing in eighth position less than 1.5 seconds from fourth.
He retains third place in the Riders’ Championship behind Razgatlıoğlu, with a 12-point buffer over Rea in fourth, as Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK close the gap to the lead of the Teams’ Championship standings with six rounds remaining. WorldSBK returns to Imola in Italy for the first time since 2019 in just 10 days’ time, with the race weekend taking place from 14-16 July.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P1 / Race 2: P2
“For me it was not a bad weekend, but I am trying more than 100% to win. The short race was a good race for me and in the last lap we took first place – Race 2 is always important, I tried my best and we took second place. I still tried to fight as much as possible, but it was not possible to fight Bautista after 10 laps – and second position is better than to crash. Now I am just looking at Imola, I have good memories there and I hope we can win again – but not only the Superpole Race, also Race 1 and Race 2! This is ‘real’ winning and I hope me and my R1 can do it.”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P4 / Race 2: P8
“I’m disappointed with the result from Race 2 because I think the potential during the weekend was really high, we were fast but I was fighting a lot with the rear grip. When I was trying to catch Rea and Lowes, more riders were coming from the back with more pace – like Petrucci and Redding. I gave everything because the feeling was not bad and we were fast across the weekend. I pushed the maximum from the beginning to the end, but we lost something this afternoon. Yesterday we were fast from the middle of the race until the end, today was a bit different – but we had a good result in the Superpole Race, my bike was great in this race. Now the weekend is over so we’re looking forward to being ready in Imola. I’m not so happy about the Race 2 result today but we will take it and continue to work.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“Both guys and the R1 WorldSBK performed very well here in the UK yesterday, and we took another step forward resulting in an incredible win for Toprak in one of the most exciting Superpole Races we’ve seen for a long time – backed up by a very close fourth for Loka. Toprak gave everything and more in Race 2. The pace was incredible compared to yesterday afternoon, but despite every tactic in the book and incredible speed – it wasn’t quite enough for Bautista again. None-the-less, congratulations to Toprak and all the crew on a brilliant weekend’s performance. Loka will be disappointed with Race 2, he finished only a second off fourth place but wasn’t quite able to finish his best-ever Donington weekend on a high. Next up is Imola, we’re looking forward to re-visiting this iconic circuit and we’ll be doing our best to put Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK back on top of the podium.”