Toprak Razgatlioglu was on strong form in Portugal, part of the podium fight in every race, but the tall Turkish rider still has no WorldSBK wins in 2022 - so far.
He was on course to win the Superpole race until a last chicane front ender, which he saved in a full Marquez style, to the amazement of all, even Marquez on Twitter… But the facts are the number 1 plate holder just missed out again in a much-desired race win.
“Race two we started good, my plan was that I followed Johnny,” Toprak said on Sunday. “I kept the rear tyre for the last laps. But I’m very surprised after ten laps I’m feeling too much spin. In the last corner, I took a big gap. In the lap, I try catching him again. Every lap like this. Last corner I’m not good exit because spinning. In the lap I’m coming, again same corner, I go back. I’m not really happy, because this final race I’m not fighting for the win. I’m just fighting for the third position. Anyway, we take good points.”
Toprak agreed that his save in that Superpole race final chicane was ‘Marquez-style’. He does not exactly practice things like that, but the nature of his training regime back in Turkey does mean it happens with some degree of regularity.
“Practice, always. In Turkey, in Kenan’s track, we are always training,” said Toprak. “Sometimes we lose the front. Normally we don’t crash. Maybe sometimes we crash because it’s a slow corner, we pick up the bike. This time not easy because it’s a heavy bike. But I’m very lucky and very happy for this. No crash, second position, podium. We take good points. I’m happy for this.”
Razgatlioglu said Estoril was a better weekend for him than the previous two, even with no wins.
“We are improved at this track because I’m feeling much better and the braking points, and also very good races this weekend. We had a battle with Johnny and Alvaro. I’m feeling we are improved, but maybe tyre problem, in the second race. But because Jonny used the same tyre, Alvaro used the same tyre, we used the X tyre. In the first race I’m not pushing. I’m just following Jonny. Also Jonny was not pushing because I saw he’s not killing the rear tyre. But after ten laps, I’m not riding easy because I enter the corner and I’m feeling the rear sliding on corner exit. I try to find the grip, but on the last lap I’m watching the race! I’m watching Jonny and Alvaro.”
Misano, the next round in two weeks, may be the breakthrough winning race for Razgatlioglu. “Next round is Misano. I like also this track. We are fighting again for the win. I try my best again. Just Race two here, normally I’m not waiting like this, this result. But also in the short race, I did not crash. I take good points. I’m very close to first position. Anyway, maybe Misano, like last year, my first win last year, my first win was Misano. This year I will try again.”
Toprak ended his comments about Estoril, with a recap, saying, “This race this weekend, I gave my best because I tried everything for arrive fighting for the win. Also, we are very close to the win. Also, first race and second race. Just first race the Ducati a little bit fast. He passed me in the straight. For short race, a mistake. Last race, the tyre because also I wait in the last lap. But tyres start to drop and I’m fighting but not enough for the victory. But I try every race weekend.
“In Misano I will try again, because we are always trying to improve every race weekend. Also, this season everybody very fast. Not just Jonny, not just Alvaro. Everybody fast in the race and lap times very fast. I know that Aragon and Assen and here, last year I remember we are always here ’37. But this race we see ’36. We are very fast. Just sometimes we need to keep the rear tyre for the good grip last laps. We need to improve this.”
Razgatlioglu also needs some good luck, maybe? “Yes, sometimes we need this. This weekend we are very fast. We are very strong, but sometimes we need good luck.”