Toprak Razgatlioglu was pleased to have won his first WorldSBK race of 2023, as he scooped points on the Pata Yamaha in what was a red flagged and then shortened Superpole race at Mandalika. But pleased up to a point, a few points short of 25, in reality.
“Most important for me is the long race, not a short race,” Razgatlioglu said, swinging sideways on a chair in the vast upper media centre at the Pertamina Circuit. “But anyway we did it. This is not easy also because this year especially, everybody is very strong. Especially Ducati. Big improvement.
“All the Ducatis are fast,” he continued. “Normally Bautista is a very strong rider, but also now it is a good package with Bautista and Ducati. But anyway, we keep fighting. Today I saw Rinaldi. I tried my best every lap, tried 100 per cent, but if I did not go wide in corner ten I think I would be passing the last sector because the last sector I am stronger than him. Bautista is still strong, I think the same lap every lap but it was not possible to catch him. Especially in some sectors the Ducati is very strong.
“This weekend we were not really strong in starting,” he continued, despite securing Saturday’s pole position plus a podium result across all three races. “I tried to find a good setup, but finally in Race Two the front tyre was still very good and not destroyed. I am, in the races very strong, but not enough for this because after the red flag, I used again the same tyre, my SC0 tyre. We could not put a new one on. I just tried my best. The feeling after a few laps, especially in the left corners, was that it was spinning a lot. But anyway, we took second position in Race Two. This is good for the championship because the championship is very long.”
Razgatlioglu said that the places he lost in Race Two were not because of a major mistake on his behalf. “I think the rider passed me and I go also a different wind. The wind is very strong. But the problem maybe that if there was no red flag, maybe it’s possible I could win the second race. Rinaldi started to drop and started to come to me, but this is racing. I’m happy because every session we are improving.”
Razgatlioglu, looking to the next race at Assen hopes he can pull out a big race win sooner rather than later. “I hope this year Assen we are focused on the race with Johnny [Rea]. We will not crash, I hope. We need to have a good position, especially Johnny. For Johnny I think it’s not an easy weekend. I think it’s the same problem, similar problem. I think his front is a big drop like yesterday. Especially the hot conditions, the Kawasaki is not working good but Jonny is still strong, very strong. I believe he will come back very strong, especially at Assen, because he is very strong there. We will see.
“We need to fight with Ducati. I need him, because I need also some help! We will see. Also ‘Loka’ is first two weekends very strong. Maybe we are fighting with Ducati together.”
Alvaro Bautista had to come from tenth in the Race Two grid, after his Superpole race crash.
So did Razgatlioglu really expect that? “No, but it’s easy for Ducati. Ducati easy pass on the straight the other riders. This is a big advantage. I try to go on the corner the same but I eat the tyre. Alvaro easily passes because on the straight his bike is very fast. He is also a very strong rider, I know, but with the bike is now a very good package.”