Toprak Razgatlioglu claimed the first strike at Phillip Island as he prepared his Pata Yamaha Prometeon R1 during Monday’s official WorldSBK test.
The 2021 title-holder took charge with a 1’30.674 lap as the opening day in Australia drew to a close, despite a morning fall and his teammate on the charge in the early session. Ducati challenger Michael Rinaldi was just 0.099s behind after the four hours on track with reigning champion, Alvaro Bautista, a tenth and a half in lieu, proving the new season is gearing up to be just as tight after such a short winter off.
“Very small crash, front tyre low side but very strange low side because I don’t understand,” Razgatlioglu explained of his morning at turn ten. “Just the problem I don’t have many suits and one is destroyed now because airbag is working. Very slow crash so I don’t understand airbag working, but is good, safe!
“Today, not easy day for me because we are trying again the new parts but finally, the last run I’m very happy,” the Turkish rider continued on his day’s progress at the Victorian circuit. “This morning and afternoon we are working a lot and finally we find a good setup and tomorrow also we are continuing working. I hope tomorrow we are improving more.
“Tomorrow we are trying to find a good grip, because this track is a big problem, rear tyre grip.
“Now I’m happy but tomorrow we try more improving, also I try race simulation. Last chance tomorrow for find the setup but in general today, I’m happy.”
While Phillip Island can traditionally throw up some curve ball results in terms of analysing the season ahead, Razgatlioglu is hoping the short pre-season has maintained the growing momentum amongst the ‘best of the rest’ riders when bringing the challenge to the ‘big three’.
“Everybody very fast with this track, especially Bautista and Johnny [Rea], but also Locatelli is big improving,” he said of Pata teammate Andrea, who topped the two hour morning session on day one. “I hope we are fighting four, maybe five riders - Johnny, Bautista, Loca, maybe Rinaldi, and we are fighting all together. I hope we are fighting because the last year just we are fighting Johnny and Alvaro, maybe this year many riders fighting together. I hope!”