Toprak Razgatlioglu says he feels ‘99% ready to race’ after rounding up testing for the 2024 WorldSBK Championship on European soil with a big new lap record at the Portimao circuit in Portugal.
The Turk has already commanded a lot of the attention ahead of the 2024 WorldSBK season following his switch from Yamaha to the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team, but does so now on the back of some eye-catching form both at Jerez and Portimao.
Indeed, having already comfortably established himself as BMW’s top representative throughout the pre-season testing period, Razgatlioglu went one step further to top the fourth and final day of testing at Portimao with a new lap record.
Notably, he was able to also post a new straight line speed benchmark of 326kph - some 6kph quicker than Alvaro Bautista on the Ducati - to give him confidence he has a machine capable now of challenging across all key areas.
“It was a fantastic day as we did a very good job,” he told the WorldSBK website. “I wasn’t focused on the lap time but also on the race pace. After this test, we go to race and we need a good setup for the race. We are 99 per cent ready to race.”
Encouragingly for Razgatlioglu, though his fastest time was set using the qualifying tyre, he says it was only one tenth faster than the lap he set on the SCX rubber. With this in mind, he feels he can go much quicker when competition comes around.
“The feeling is good and every day, we are getting better as we keep improving the bike. Today, I did a 1’39.8 with the SC0 and did it three or four times. With the SCX, I did a 1’39.2 which is an unbelievable lap time and I am really surprised.
“At the end of the day, thanks to Bonovo, who we asked for a Q tyre from, we got one but only improved by 0.1s. We used a different swingarm for a short bike and put the SCQ but the bike was jumping around and there was a lot of wheelie. I couldn’t make a 1’38 but do next time we can!”
With BMW having made its high-profile swoop for Razgatlioglu mid-way through last season, the Turk’s task is now to turn the manufacturer into a regular race winner.
Though BMW has proven itself capable of wins during its first stint competing in WorldSBK as a factory team back in 2011, it has won only one race since 2012.
“Finally, I feel like the bike is my bike. It’s my style, sliding and with the grip improving too. The turning is not 100% but we are close. The team is very happy and the motivation is very high now.”