Why Toprak Razgatlioglu went from race leader and potential WorldSBK winner to third in race one at Assen was simple for the tall Turkish rider to understand.
“I destroyed the front tyre,” the works Yamaha man told bikesportnews.com. “I thought it was not this, but the right side was fully destroyed. I was very surprised because it’s my favourite tyre. Strange, but the right side… fully destroyed.
"Also Garrett Gerloff used the same tyre but his was not destroyed. We tried the SC0 tyre rear. This season I tried for the first time. I used first time in the race an SC0 tyre because (normally) the Yamaha doesn’t like the SC0 tyre.”
Toprak likes the to use the softer tyres, like his bike does too. “I like always the X tyre,” he explained. “But the rear tyre was not bad. Also, I see Johnny was also sliding. I’m also sliding. It’s not bad, but after some laps I felt the front sliding too much.
"Then it’s not possible to follow Johnny. Scott was coming, and I said, ‘OK, I’m watching because Scott is coming really crazy and I’m waiting.’ After I passed Scott, I tried again follow Johnny but not possible because corner three two times the front was really sliding and I was very close to a crash. I said, ‘second position is OK!’ Scott was coming past again but I said, ‘wait for the last lap and I will pass him’ - but the red flag appeared. For me, it is not good luck here.
"I said, in this race it’s possible I’m fighting for a win because this weekend I’m not really strong. Also I saw Jonny’s very good lap times every lap, but in the race he was not really fast. Easy to follow. I said at one time, OK, in the last laps ‘l’ll fight for win but my front tyre was destroyed.”
A massive crash in Superpole led to quick repairs and Razgatlioglu jumping back on board to qualify second, behind Rea of course.
Had his crash left any issues for him to overcome? “Yes, but also I feel in right corners the bike ‘jumping’ (in Superpole). Also, I ride fast, but not like full gas. I ride smooth because I needed just good position for the race. My team said we need just sixth position.
"I was feeling stressed. I had crashed, so I needed a good position for the race. But, not bad. A good lap time came. But maybe if I did not feel this jumping, maybe I would be in pole position. I don't know. Also, we had a good start in the race, but at the end the front tyre was destroyed.
In Superpole Razgatlioglu fell just after he had passed his own team-mate Andrea Locatelli. He was maybe a bit off line after using Loca as a guide. Razgatlioglu is normally not the best qualifier so he and Locatelli helped each other in this area.
“I’m not really fast this weekend so Locatelli rides in front, and I follow him. I was coming very fast. I passed him in the last corner, and the front tyre started sliding. Maybe I went inside more. Maybe it’s dirty on the inside, but the front tyre was sliding.
"After, I took a good position anyway. I rode alone, but a good lap time came along anyway. Normally I follow my teammate, and he a help for me. Because this weekend I’m looking his data because his sector three is fast, 0.2 faster than me.
"I’m looking to his data because my lap time is better than him, but I am looking also this data because maybe some corners he is faster. I need to learn. He is also, in sector three very good. I was looking to try a yesterday.
"I followed for two laps, three laps for understanding the line, also because it does not suit my style, this track. I like it always stop-go circuits, but this track is very difficult. But also not bad for the result now.”