Toprak Razgatliolgu is harnessing last season’s win at Misano World Circuit to ignite his WorldSBK title defence in Italy this weekend.
The Pata Yamaha rider is calm and confident after the opening day on the Adriatic coast, which saw the pack evaluate two additional Pirelli tyres across the day’s mixed conditions on his way to second in the combined times.
“I like this track and last year, first win in this track, but also good feedback today,” Razgatlioglu said on Friday evening. “We try new Pirelli tyres and also now check which tyre is better for the race. Also tomorrow we try some improvement because we know this track many change directions, I’m feeling a little bit heavy, just I need some different setup for the race.”
Discussing the new options available, Razgatlioglu was unsure of the potential.
“I feeling same,” he admitted. “Little bit like last year feeling because also this year we are more fast. You see the lap times, last year we don’t see this lap time. Also this year every race track like this, we are very fast but we will see in the race because looks now we are fighting again with Johnny and with Bautista. We will see. This is good. This is good for me because I enjoy.”
Setting a 1’34.115, 0.107s behind Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista and just 0.019s ahead of KRT’s Jonathan Rea, the leading trio were joined by Michael Rinaldi in the battle for the times. A fight the Turk fully expects to carry through to the weekend’s races.
“We are fighting again because this track not a really big problem with rear tyre, just some corner you feel spinning,” he continued. “But we will see, you know last year also we are a little bit fighting with Rinaldi, with Michael. This year we are fighting again maybe with Johnny and Bautista. Also Johnny is improving, last year is not really the strongest track but he’s improving.”
The reigning champion knows his strengths but is also aware of those around him.
“I’m very strong in the braking but important race because you see, you start fighting because you understand the riders, which corner slow, which corner fast. Now I don’t have a plan for the race, we will see.
“I’m just looking race by race because I’m focused on first win, like last year, and after we see.”
While recent developments in MotoGP have made his future crystal clear, the 25-year-old was in no doubt as to where he would be lining up for 2023.
“We are not going to an independent team,” he confirmed. “We say we have a plan with Kenan, we are always go to factory racing. If not factory racing, we are staying here and also we always say this. Next year no space for the factory racing and we are staying here!”