Having scored his first ever WorldSBK triple race winning weekend at Donington Park in July, Pata Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu was on schedule to do it do it all again at Portimao after victory in the morning’s Superpole ten-lapper.
It was not to be, but the tall Turkish rider tried all he could to overcome the pace and performance of race two winner Alvaro Bautista and his Ducati.
Bautista was just too fast to catch in the weekend’s finale, although Razgatlioglu gave it a good go. In the first Sunday race, Razgatlioglu put in one of his best ever rides to keep the red menace away from the top step.
“I think this year, that was my best race,” agreed Razgatlioglu. “We are fighting with Alvaro, so I am enjoying that. Today he’s extremely fast, but I tried to catch him in race two. My plan normally, stay in front, but this race not possible because It’s not easy to pass him. But anyway, this morning was really enjoying it.
“Now I’m looking to Argentina because I know that will be a not easy race for all people. Ducati again will be very strong in the straight. Argentina has a very long straight. But we will see. We will keep fighting again. The championship is not finished, but I’m not thinking about the championship. I’m just looking at it race-by-race.”
Razgatlioglu had a good set-up but in some places he had nothing to offer Bautista.
“I’m very happy with my bike, but the last corner and first corner he’s 0.5, I think, maybe 0.6, faster than me. He touch the gas in the last corner, he’s starting the gap. But in the middle of the lap, I was coming but not possible to pass him the last sector because it’s just a long corner. After, he goes again and inside the lap I’m coming again.”
The main difference was in the main straight?
“Exactly,” said Razgatlioglu, “But, I tried. Last three laps, I understand also I started the front sliding because every corner I’m pushing more. But anyway, I’m happy today with my bike. We did some very good work. I’m feeling much better. Also, I am enjoying this weekend. Just the last race, okay, we don’t win, but we are fighting for the wins. This is good motivation for me.”
With the Ducati as it is now, Razgatlioglu was asked what Yamaha needed to give him next year?
“The Yamaha in the corner is a very good bike,” Razgatlioglu answered. “Feeling is very good during turning and I’m very happy with that but just we need the speed. We need the power.
“We look at the Ducati and Honda and BMW also, they are improving. Also this year Kawasaki is improving the speed. But for next year, we need more power, for the fighting. But I think the Ducati is too much, and maybe next year we need the same speed bike, the same power bike.
“Ducati now is a really fast bike but I’m not crying. I’m just riding and fighting for the win. I’m just a rider. But for the Superbike paddock, I think better same power, my opinion. Ducati has too much advantage in the straight. Is in the corner not pushing. Is waiting maybe in the straight. It’s very easy to pass me. We are pushing on the limit every corner, but he pushes past me on the straight. Sometimes not easy, but I say again, I’m not crying.
"Just in my opinion better same power in the Superbike maybe next year. I think everybody would be fighting a lot. In the straight, your bike is very fast and you are not easy fighting with the other riders. Now I’m enjoying. This morning I’m really enjoying his pass me in the straight. The first corner, I pass him again. This is good but I think better for the Superbike that all bikes the same power. I think it’s more fun.”
When given two options to reduce the disadvantage of the Ducati it means some revs taken away from the Ducati or something more from his Yamaha. “We have just two options - no more,” said Toprak. “I don’t know which one. I am just saying my opinion. I’m ready for two options, no problem. Maybe Yamaha will build a new bike, and maybe the Dorna does some rules. We will see for next year. I never said Bautista is a slow rider. He is also a very, very good rider. He’s a very strong rider. But just you know I’m talking about the Ducati in the straight.
"Alvaro is also a really strong rider. I’m always waiting in the straight. In the straight, I’m waiting him pass me left or right side. He’s always this morning pass me the left side. After, I made it to the first corner for the hard braking, and this morning I’m enjoying. But the second race, I’m not enjoying because I’m not easy fighting with him. But, now we are with this bike and we know Ducati is fast in the straight, but we will keep fighting. Maybe we have talk for next year the rules.”