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“BMW are ready to give Toprak what he needs, they can be WorldSBK champions”


Kenan Sofuoglu has discussed the process that led to his protege Toprak Razgatlioglu to announce a shock switch from Yamaha to BMW for the 2024 WorldSBK Championship season.

Ahead of this weekend’s fifth WorldSBK round in Misano, the Turkish rider confirmed growing speculation he was seeking pastures new by announcing he will team up with the factory BMW squad in a two-year deal from next season.

It means Razgatlioglu will bring his four-year term with Yamaha to a close at the end of the year, a partnership that has to date yielded 31 wins and the 2021 WorldSBK Championship title.


The switch is considered a bold change of direction for Razgatlioglu, in part because it effectively scuppers any aspirations he might have had on graduating to MotoGP, but also because BMW has struggled to match the pace of Ducati, Yamaha and Kawasaki since its return in a factory capacity in 2019.

In that time, BMW has achieved just a single race win - in a rain-affected Superpole Race at Portimao in 2021 - and is currently last in the manufacturers’ standings despite bringing a heavily-revised BMW M 1000 RR package to the grid this year.

However, Sofuoglu believes the input of Razgatlioglu, coupled with the vast resources available at BMW, will allow the combination to flourish in time.

“BMW are a very big brand and they are very excited to give us what we need,” the five-time WorldSSP Champion said. “Toprak has enough talent to cover missing points. He has a two-year contract and, I believe, we will win the Championship. I can’t say which year, but we come to BMW to make BMW and ourselves Champions. 

“They are fully ready for what Toprak needs to make it, even in the future. If Toprak asks, BMW are ready to deliver to Toprak what he needs to make the bike a Championship winning bike. This partnership came together to be Champions. We came together to make BMW World Champions. This is our main goal.”

"It's a hard challenge, Toprak wants to try it..."

Sofuoglu also revealed more details of the process that led to Razgatlioglu penning a deal with BMW despite Yamaha publicly stating its confidence that it would retain him.

“There was an offer from BMW,” he continued. “They were the first interested team for Toprak. We tried to deal with Yamaha and when BMW’s interest arrived, I told all of them very clearly, ‘first, we will speak with Yamaha and if we don’t make an agreement with them, we can start speaking’. 

“We couldn’t deal with Yamaha, but it was not just for the money story but mainly, in our mind, to make the change. I saw that Toprak was most interested in BMW. He knows, and we know, it’s one of the hardest challenges it can be. Toprak wants to try it. BMW’s never been WorldSBK Champion.”

Confirming Razgatlioglu has signed a two-year deal with BMW, Sofuoglu also revealed Yamaha has put a block in releasing him until his contract comes to its stated end.


It means it is likely he won’t get his first taste of BMW machinery until January 2024 at the earliest, rather than during the post-season tests that immediately follow the 2023 season.

CLICK HERE to view the 2023 WorldSBK Championship standings

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