Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu competed the WorldSBK season finale at Phillip Island winless but with a double podium to his name.
Finishing second is no fun when you were the world champion from the year before, but Razgatlioglu really didn’t look like he was enjoying himself on Sunday, and not just because the weather was changeable, angry and always turning up at the wrong times.
“The Superpole race is okay, not bad,” Razgatlioglu admitted as 2022 came to a close. “I was small fighting with Johnny, but important is race two, always. I tried my best, but after ten laps there was a big drop from my rear tyre. Anyway, I saw [Alex] Lowes after he passed me, he was pushing for two laps. After I saw him start spinning, I said, ‘Okay, now I am braking a little bit and in the last two laps I will try to pass him.’'
A red flag came out with Lowes ahead and he was given third place as a result.
“I see that he is very lucky, but he needs the bonus because he has two babies…” joked Toprak. “I’m really happy for Lowes, because he is also very strong this weekend. I did not finish the season, the last race, on the podium but we are second position in the championship. Every race we are fighting big for the best results. So, I’m really happy.”
Bautista finished a decent 72 points ahead of Razgatlioglu, but even if the Turkish rider was a little closer in the points, maybe second would have been the best he could have expected?
“I gave everything, every race,” he replied. “My big problem was in early season races, but after, I’m feeling much better on the bike. I tried my best in every race. Okay, we have now a second championship finish, but why not are we world champions?
"Anyway, everybody tried their best. Alvaro was very strong this year, especially at this track and Catalunya. He was yesterday not really strong in the first race. For me it was good race, just the problem inside the pit lane. We lose 5.3 seconds. I’m happy now for second position in the championship, but we always try to be in the championship in first position.
"In general, I am happy because this year I am learning. We are improving also the bike, and now it’s feeling much better. Next year we have many new parts we tried directly in testing. This is a good point for me for next year. But, we will see.”
Not having the softest tyre options, maybe by necessity given PI’s reputation for wrecking tyres, was an issue for Razgatlioglu as his bike works best on the softest possible option. But it is not the best device round PI either, it seems.
“For here, the big problem normally Yamaha’s not really strong in this track, but also we use the hard rear tyre,” he confirmed. “Normally, my bike SC0, SCX tyre is unbelievable. My feeling is very good bike, but with the hard tyre I think the bike is not working. Especially this weekend, we don’t find a good setup for rear grip. Also the last race, early laps I’m just spinning a lot, especially at Lukey Heights. But anyway, I tried my best inside the race.
"Next year we come here early, also we have a test. I hope we find a good setup for all the race.”
No really hard braking zones at the Australian track is also another potential place of gain for Razgatlioglu that does not exist at PI.
“This track is not like my style. I like this track, but especially not my style track. I love it in slow corners. But anyway, 2020 we won the first Yamaha race here, but also I’m feeling the bike much better in 2020. Now, I’m feeling just spinning a lot on the dry conditions but this is strange. The first time in wet conditions I’m feeling the bike much better. Anyway, this season is finished. Next season I hope we find good setup for the race. We are improving a lot.”