July 30 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu crashed out of the lead of Race 2 at Autodrom Most after his rear tyre suffered a catastrophic failure at the eighth round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship in the Czech Republic today.
Starting this morning’s Superpole Race 54 points behind his title rival, Razgatlıoğlu did everything within his power – and then some – to close the gap to Alvaro Bautista. The 10-lap sprint showcased some of the finest racing WorldSBK has to offer, as titans Razgatlıoğlu and six-time World Champion Jonathan Rea both took to the front in the opening laps – capitalising on Bautista’s poor qualifying position. The pair put on a show for Most’s 53,871-strong fan attendance, when Rea made vied for lead into Turn 20 at the end of Lap 6 and Razgatlıoğlu responded immediately – finishing strongly for his 37th-career victory.
Race 2 saw a return of Bautista to the front with a powerful start off the line to overhaul pole-sitter Razgatlıoğlu in the run down to Turn 1, but it wouldn’t be for long as the Turkish ace set about hunting down the Ducati using the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK’s strengths across the majority of Most’s 21 corners. By Lap 7, the #54 rider caught and passed the Spaniard – the two went toe-to-toe enjoying an intense battle for the lead, but a mistake by Bautista on Lap 15 gave Razgatlıoğlu the chance to put the hammer down and open up a 0.6-second gap until his race was cruelly ended on Lap 17.
It was a day to forget for teammate Andrea Locatelli – whose early pace in the weekend had set him up for the podium fight. An uncharacteristic mistake in the Superpole Race saw the Italian rider crash out of the opening lap on the still-drying track. The DNF put him on the back foot for Race 2, starting P10 where he found it difficult to make progress forward, unable to climb higher than seventh.
Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK retains a six-point lead in the Teams’ Championship standings from Aruba.it Racing Ducati, as the points deficit has grown in the Riders’ Championship: Razgatlıoğlu now lies 74 points behind Bautista after closing the gap to 49 points after his Superpole win, while Locatelli slips one place back to fourth behind Rea.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P1 / Race 2: DNF
“It was a very strange race – my rear tyre burst and also I am surprised, because after I crashed I am looking back thinking chain or something like this, and I see my tyre. Very strange, this is the first time in my life. I am lucky because also not a fast corner, I crash on a slower corner – this is good and I am ok. But, in the last six laps I am riding more calm – I see the gap getting big to Bautista and the feeling was really good on my R1. It was a good race for me, I was enjoying the fight – we fight clean and I think all fans enjoying! Especially the first corner! I just try to do my best, very bad luck for me. I’m not angry for Pirelli – I don’t know why this tyre is like this, I am just very surprised and it is very strange. We have many races, and I keep looking to the future and keep fighting.”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: DNF / Race 2: P7
“A bit of a strange weekend first of all, and a bit unlucky – unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of points during this weekend but honestly it was not easy. We tried to push to get the maximum in every session but this morning in the Superpole Race we were unlucky. I lost the rear, maybe I was a bit off line and the conditions after the rain were tricky – then to start from the back in Race 2 was difficult. We need to learn from it but also forget it and look forward to Magny-Cours, we will try again from there to get more feeling and more confidence to fight again. I am a bit sad because I would like to get more points, especially on this track because in 2021 it was a good circuit for us. But now we will keep working and prepare well for the next races to finish the season strong.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“Incredibly disappointing end to a very positive race weekend here in Most. Toprak’s superb performance yesterday was backed up by a brilliant victory in the Superpole Race – and after a fierce battle with Alvaro in Race 2, finally Toprak had made enough of a gap to start flowing and we had no doubt that the race at that point was won. Unfortunately, Toprak suffered a catastrophic rear tyre failure, resulting in an instantaneous puncture. The only positive from that was that it did not happen in one of the extremely fast left-hand corners on this track and that he is ok. What should have been a 44-point gap to the championship lead at the end of this event is now again 74, but we can only keep doing our best and pushing race-by-race. For Loka, today was a disappointment – crash in the Superpole Race and a steady P7 in Race 2: not what he and the R1 are capable of. So we look forward to regrouping with Loka in Magny-Cours and pushing towards the podium fight yet again.”