It took nine 2021 WorldSBK races for Toprak Razgatlioglu to win a race for his Pata Yamaha team, but it was as strong a victory as he could have hoped for in the end, taking the lead on lap eight and running clear of all his peers.
He was not much more than a second clear of Race One and Superpole race winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi in timing terms but he was clear of them all in reality, making no mistakes and halting Rinaldi’s potential for a hat trick of wins at home.
All down to having the bike right, at last, Razgatlioglu told bikesportnews.com. “We tried also this morning warmup something different in the setup, but I don’t like it.
Also we tried again for short race, but a big improvement. I’m feeling much better also in braking. But finally, I’m winning, I am happy.
“I saw in the Superpole Race when I followed Rinaldi, I understood that the second race maybe I could win it. But I just said, ‘I’m not closing the gas. I am pushing all laps for him,’ because I race just for win, not second position. I said to myself, ‘Enough. Second, second, second. I need a win. Finally we got the win. I’m really happy. Also thanks to my team because - great job this weekend.”
Razgatlioglu’s push saw him claw back lots of points on championship leader Rea, and he is now only 20 points up, approaching one of Razgatlioglu’s favourite circuits, Donington.
“I’m not looking at points,” said Razgatlioglu. “By looking I’m feeling stressed. Better not to look now because we have many races. But I’m coming step by step. We will see in the next ones.”
The championship is the big target of course, but as he continued, “Now yes, but I say again, I’m not looking at this side. I just ride. Also, this race is for me very good motivation, and Donington Park because I’m very strong. Normally I am strong, but good motivation also this weekend for me. I saw Jonathan all laps pushing but he’s always on the limit I see also.
“Also I am pushing always the limit, because in the race I don’t know maybe ten times front sliding, but I’m not close gas because I need this position. I say again, for Johnny a not good weekend I know, but he is always strong. But now I am happy because first time close to Johnny in points.”
With another fast rider like Gerloff in the Yamaha fold Razgatlioglu can also bounce ideas off another podium capable rider, but he feels their styles are too different to really match in well with his.
“Also Garrett is very fast I know, and with the Yamaha he rides very good. He’s also very fast in long corners, but also I sometimes check Garrett’s data. I try, but his style is different. My style is different. My style hard brake, stop, go. But I always ride like this.”
On Friday after the session at Misano Razgatlioglu went to see Valentino at his ranch nearby, and Razgatlioglu said, “Friday after the session I went and we speak also with Vale. He’s a really, really good guy because he’s always followed me all the races. Also I’m happy because he is like a legend.
“We go and also we were watching the training and always I saw them drifting. I did not ride because this weekend my race is important. He said also one day come, but maybe testing on Monday. I’m coming here for a test, I try.”
When asked if he is maybe now even faster than Valentino, and if he will soon find his way into a Petronas Yamaha, Razgatlioglu said, “I don’t know. Because I never ride the big bike. I don’t know. I am happy here.”
Much happier after his first win of 2021. He is now the fourth different rider, on the third different bike to win a race in WorldSBK 2021.