Toprak Razgatlioglu is to leave the Pata Yamaha team at the end of the 2023 WorldSBK Championship season, it has been confirmed.
The Turkish rider joined Yamaha at the start of the 2020 WorldSBK season and has gone on to enjoy immense success with the Japanese marque, scoring 31 wins and wrapping up the 2021 WorldSBK Championship title.
However, after four seasons with the manufacturer, Razgatlioglu will bid farewell in favour of a fresh yet-to-be-confirmed deal, rumoured to be with BMW.
“I want to say to the whole Yamaha family a very big thank you for the love and respect they have shown me. To win the World Championship was my dream when I signed with Yamaha, and we reached that goal together."
Though his move to Yamaha was partly motivated by a desire to compete in MotoGP, Razgatlioglu admits he didn't 'connect' with the machinery as he'd hoped. As such, he has opted to remain in WorldSBK but will do so with a new challenge.
"For next season I feel I need a new challenge and while there was an opportunity in MotoGP, I didn’t feel the same connection with the MotoGP bike that I have with the superbike.
"But if I am to stay in WorldSBK then I need a new target, a new ambition. I am sorry to leave Yamaha, both the brand and the people, as we have a very good relationship, but change is part of any sport and normal for any professional.
"So, a big thank you to Yamaha Motor Company, Yamaha Motor Europe, Yamaha Motor Turkiye, the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK team and especially to my crew, who have all worked so hard for me.”
Razgatlioglu made his full WorldSBK debut in 2018 with Puccetti Kawasaki, developing into a front-running competitor, scoring two wins in his two seasons with the team.
Going on to join Yamaha in 2020, Razgatlioglu was a race winner on his first outing at Phillip Island, kick-starting a tenure that would yield the title in 2021 following an epic season-long duel with six-time WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea.
However, after being comfortably beaten in 2022 by the resurgent Alvaro Bautista and Aruba.it Ducati - a package that is well on course for back-to-back titles this season - Razgatlioglu had intimated that he was seeking a fresh challenge for 2024.
Though this was originally expected to be a promotion to MotoGP with Yamaha, testing revealed Razgatlioglu would require a fundamental change of the flamboyant riding style that has made him so successful on WorldSBK machinery.
With his manager Kenan Sofuoglu hinting that a change of scenery was imminent during the most recent round in Spain, he identified BMW as the most likely destination, though added talks had also taken place with Kawasaki.
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