Toprak Razgatlioglu’s astounding WorldSBK weekend at Magny Cours ended in perfection on Sunday, with two more race wins on his Pata Yamaha to add to his Saturday victory.
And then it didn’t.
Just after the top WorldSBK riders had spoken to the on-site media and gone off to shower and leave, the news came through that Razgatlioglu had been spotted straying onto the green paint on the final lap of the Superpole sprint race, and the rulebook says you have to be punished. By losing one place, therefore, he ‘only’ won both long races.
As the revised records show, he lost his Superpole race winning status to Jonathan Rea, after his Kawasaki Racing Team launched a protest.
The Superpole race on Sunday was astounding entertainment, and as far as Razgatlioglu is concerned, he is still the winner, even if he is now seven points ahead of Rea, not 13.
“For me an incredible weekend, because this was my dream – to make three wins together in one weekend, and I am really happy,” Razgatlioglu said on Sunday evening.
“OK, somebody else decided we did not win the Superpole Race but for me, I won the race and I enjoy this fight a lot.”
Everybody enjoyed it, and the on-track fight for most of Race Two between Rea and Razgatlioglu, which this time was again won by Razgatlioglu.
All in all it was an amazing weekend, bossed by Razgatlioglu except in Superpole qualifying.vWhen Razgatlioglu still thought he had won all three races, he said, “I’m happy, but also this year I try two wins, but not coming again one more. This weekend not easy for me. First race different, but second race very strong, also Jonny and last race also. We are fighting. Also, last laps I push because I need this win.
“I’m really happy. Also, this year I try 10 wins, 12 wins, I don’t know how many but just I try.”
Razgatlioglu said that he had chatter through some corners in race two, due to the heat most likely, as the air temp got up to 28°C. It was the heat from Rea behind that could have got to Razgatlioglu, however.
“I don’t understand but many corners I went wide, he admitted. “I think the front tyre did not have good grip because three times the front closed. I was not feeling relaxed on the bike. After passed Johnny, I rode a little bit better because I watched Johnny. I tried braking for him, and also I try his line but I ride alone much better because I ride better relaxed. Also last laps I see 37.2, and 37.3, is a good lap time also. Not an easy race. It’s very hot.”
Razgatlioglu was asked if he can beat his former Kawasaki colleague and all-time WorldSBK legend Rea over the - increasingly classic - season they are building, and he replied, “This is different. I don’t know. We have many races, and also he’s some races very strong and I am some races very strong.
“Also this year I don’t know about Kawasaki, not really strong. Always a big mistake because front sliding.”
He looked at Rea across the media centre for comment, when he said, “Normally he rides much better, but I think engine brake not working, not enough?” Laughs all round and no comment from Rea were the only replies he got.
The heat got turned up shortly after the press conferences ended, but already Razgatlioglu knows how important the next three races in succession are, even before we do or do not have two long haul races in Argentina and Indonesia.
“Really important - Catalunya, Jerez, Portimao, also Johnny is very fast at these three tracks, but we will see. We have many races because race weekend, three races, and this season every race weekend big change in championship.”
In 2021 however, Razgatlioglu is the one not having any bad weekends, just like Rea, and some of that is down to how much better his bike works this year at more places.
“This year we improve also the bike and also I’m learning my bike,” he explained. “My team is learning my style. Now we are working together much better. Also, every race we are fighting for win. Also, I’m learning the tyres, which tyre is better for the race. I’m watching many years ago Jonny. He’s always Friday trying a race simulation. Also this year I try every Friday a race simulation, and we are working. Now we are fighting also in the championship.”