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WorldSBK Magny-Cours: Yamaha boss sends warning after Toprak protest

Pata Yamaha team boss Paul Denning has issued a warning to the all-conquering Kawasaki WorldSBK squad following their protest of his rider Toprak Razgatlioglu yesterday at Magny-Cours, saying ‘the sporting atmosphere may change’.

Razgatlioglu had won all three races in France until Kawasaki spotted that he had run off track by a gnat’s in race three and told the headmaster. The Turk was subsequently docked a position which handed Jonathan Rea the win - all of which Denning believes was not sporting.

“It’s disappointing of course. This weekend we saw incredible fighting between the two championship protagonists. For our team, the first time we’ve won all three races. For Toprak, the first time he’s won all three races,” said Denning.


“An amazing sporting spectacle and amazing respect between these two fantastic riders. And then, after the end of Race 2 where we had been on pole position because of the result of the Superpole Race, the stewards made a decision after a protest that there was a tiny infringement on the last lap from Toprak touching the green on the exit of 9 and 10.

“This was caused by a protest from Kawasaki. It’s disappointing because honestly, genuinely, it’s not something we would’ve done. When a rider has gained zero advantage and you’re talking about 5mm of the rear tyre just touching the green, something that race direction had seen themselves, checked from the live footage, decided there absolutely was not a problem because there was not any advantage and it wasn’t clear he was on the green.

But after they received the protest, they had to use all the tools they have, and this includes the onboard footage from Jonathan’s bike. They were able to see that there was a small amount on the green. If this is the way Kawasaki want to play, then maybe the sporting atmosphere will change a little bit.”

Kawasaki boss Guim Roda responded to Denning, saying; “In case there is any doubt I would like to explain KRT’s facts after Superpole race at Magny-Cours. After the last lap of the race, Raul, the KRT hardware technician, who was sitting in the pit box watching the race as he normally does, mentioned to me he thought Toprak had run out the track on the last lap so I told him to check and confirm.

“As an example, in Assen, Race Direction penalised Ana Carrasco on the last lap because somebody push her out of the track limits. This was unfortunate and also unlucky. Ana complained about this, but I said to her ‘a rule is rule and we must accept and be more clever next time’.

“On the last lap of any race run under these rules it is very important to ride the limits but not to cross them… and one of the most important things to consider is not to go off the track. This part of the track at Magny-Cours, at the level Rea and Toprak are fighting, would give an advantage; small but still an advantage. For me, it was enough to refer to the rules and make a comment to race direction. Ultimately the decision is not mine, It is FIM who consider independently, this is the same for everyone.”

Denning was involved in a protracted protest over the British Superbike title back in 2000 when his rider Chris Walker and GSE Racing’s Neil Hodgson came to blows several times over the season. The title was eventually decided by an RAC inquiry months after the season ended.

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