After some great scraps with his big rival Jonathan Rea, Axel Bassani and the weather conditions, Toprak Razgatlioglu was well on his way to winning race one in the Catalunya rain for Yamaha.
Special in many ways but also because he was using a special 60th Anniversary white and red colour scheme, like the other top Yamaha riders.
But, as Garrett Gerloff’s crash on sighting lap proved, it was to be an unlucky day for Yamaha, as Razgatlioglu’s bike ran out of sparks while the Turkish star was in the lead of the race.
Being a laid-back kind of guy in almost all circumstances, Razgatlioglu was amazingly chilled after his great disappointment. He felt, as he said, “Not bad, because we have two races tomorrow. It was an electronic problem, a charging problem also,” (the battery was - for reasons they are looking into now - unable to supply a charge to the electronics towards the end of the race). It was a quick process, but not a sudden electrical death.
“I felt in the last corner exit the bike cutting, and after corner three, the bike went bike completely off” Razgatlioglu explained further. “Bad luck for me today. Also, I am starting very good. For me, the best in wet conditions I have ridden. I rode very good. Also, I’m surprised. Normally I’m not waiting like this because first laps I’m fighting a little bit with Johnny, and after he goes, and after we came back. OK, I see Johnny sliding out of the corner, but also I see Bassani sliding.
“Everybody I think had the same problem. I try also braking with some gas open for the rear, and I was feeling much better. I ride also some laps much better. After I passed Johnny. I said, ‘this is my race. First time in wet condition I go to win’. But last six laps, the bad luck for me. Electronic problem. Before three laps, the charging stopped, and last six laps, electronic off.”
Razgatlioglu lost his hard won championship lead on Saturday but he is, as usual, taking things one race at a time.
“Yeah, six points. Not big,” he said, in his usual matter-of-fact fashion. “Also normally I’m not looking at this. I ride the bike. I’m not always, ‘I win this race, more gap the championship’. I’m never looking at this. I’m always focused win the race, because I need 10 wins to have this year. This race was very important for me because wet conditions, I need a good position. But in the race also I’m surprised because I had a very good ride. We are coming to the front. Also, tomorrow I try again when I’m fighting for win again tomorrow.”
As an old competitor with Bassani in the final couple of races in the 2015 Superstock Championship, among other things, Toprak was not surprised by his pace in the wet conditions.
“Yes, but normally Bassani is fast in wet conditions. Also Ducati, I see the electronics is working very good. He opens the gas, he’s turning. But also I ride much better because I saw Bassani and after I ride alone. That was much better, because I use different lines. Also this was the first time we get Catalunya with wet conditions.”
I’m not surprised to see Bassani here because I know many years ago, I ride together with this guy. He’s very fast through that corner. I’m not surprised. But I’m waiting Michael in the race because he’s normally fast. Also, I try fighting with Johnny, but he went off alone at the start. After, I’m feeling we are coming. After that, I rode much better. A good race for me, just not good end.”