Yamaha Europe Road Racing Manager Andrea Dosoli says the manufacturer will be sad to see its ‘ambassador’ Toprak Razgatlioglu depart at the end of the 2023 WorldSBK season.
The Turkish rider announced he will depart the Yamaha fold after four seasons with the Japanese manufacturer, a tenure that has yielded 31 wins to date and in 2021 saw him clinch the firm’s first WorldSBK title since Ben Spies in 2009.
However, relations have frayed in the wake of a decline in form, while a recent MotoGP test drew a lukewarm feedback from the manufacturer and a call for Razgatlioglu to alter his riding style if he wants to compete in the premier class in future.
Drawing a reluctant response from Razgatlioglu, that - together with a decline in form this season - led to him and his manager Kenan Sofuoglu turning down a new deal from Yamaha for 2024 and 2025.
As such, amid rumours Razgatlioglu will join BMW next season, has led to his exit, much to Dosoli’s disappointment.
“We will be sorry to see Toprak leave Yamaha at the end of this season,” he said. “We wanted to continue what has been an incredibly successful partnership, with the obvious highlight being the triple crown of rider, manufacturer, and team world titles that we won together in 2021.
“We made what we felt was an offer that properly reflected Toprak’s value as a rider and an ambassador for Yamaha, as well as the competitiveness of our racing package and our racing strategy within the WorldSBK platform.
“However, as the negotiations progressed it became apparent to both parties that Toprak is motivated to embrace a new challenge in 2024 and we respect his decision. Although our paths will diverge at the end of the year, we are now fully focused on the battle for the 2023 WorldSBK title, which resumes shortly at Misano.
“Finally, I would like to thank Toprak on behalf of Yamaha but also personally, for his invaluable contribution to our WorldSBK project. His first World Championship title in 2021 was a just reward for him but also for all the people who, since we returned to WorldSBK in 2016, have worked so hard to make this project a success.
"It is a memory that everyone at Yamaha will cherish. We wish Toprak every success for the future but, for now, we have a job to finish.”
As for where Razgatlioglu will land for the 2024 WorldSBK season, BMW or Kawasaki is understood to be the most likely destination, with the speculation given credence by comments that suggest he is putting his MotoGP aspirations on the back burner.
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