Championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx) extended his championship lead on Saturday to give himself the best birthday present of all, 25 point so match his years on the planet.
The fact that he has his 25th birthday on the same day as his team-mate Andrea Locatelli made the day bizarre, especially when their team boss Paul Denning rocked up into the garage after a practice session to give them a cake between them.
Losing the Superpole competition to Scott Redding was no major drama for Razgatlioglu as he hit the lead from turn one and finished 5.3 seconds up on the next best rider, Jonathan Rea. He was celebrating a birthday too, as Kawasaki had just turned 125 years of age, so was running a very special set of retro bodywork on his 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR. But he had no answers for Razgatlioglu and his R1.
Razgatlioglu answered how it was done in race one by saying, “This weekend we are very strong. This race was not easy for me because I pushed every lap for consistent lap times and making no mistakes. We are here and very happy. Also, thanks to my team as every session they were improving my bike. Also, the race simulation was great for me.”
Razgatlioglu did a 16-lap run in free practice on Friday, short of race distance but long enough to learn some important lessons that helped him move 29 points ahead of Rea.
“Because I saw after 10 laps how was my bike yesterday, and after 10 laps I rode a bit better because I rode the bike in a different style. Today I rode the bike similar to yesterday and we are fast again. But… today just one big difference… hotter asphalt. I don't know tomorrow, maybe I need to try more because over 10 lap races everybody tries their best.”
Razgatlioglu missed the chequered flag, which saw him race on then get completely confused.
“I didn’t see the chequered flag. I see my team, but I don’t see the chequered flag. After the first corner, I looked at Johnny. I understand Johnny pushing again. I said, maybe we have one more lap. I pushed and next straight I see the screen. I said, I don’t see the message. One more lap, 22 laps. Maybe try to fight for the more important. Now my age is 25 but tomorrow I’m looking the chequered flag again.”
Being ribbed about being so old at 25 that his eyes are playing tricks on him, Razgatlioglu said, “Yeah, this is a big problem. I’m older. But feeling 18!”
When asked about his rival’s chances for the Superpole race on Sunday, Razgatlioglu said, “This year my dream race weekend is to have three wins. We are very strong this weekend so I will try for three wins again. I know it’s not easy. Tomorrow two races will be very difficult for me but I fight again. For me it is important as far as enjoying the race, I will try my best again.”
It is possible that Razgatlioglu may win the World Championship at Villicum on Sunday, even if he thinks it is a long shot.
“I don't know, “ he stated. “Because maybe Johnny crash, I’m champion. I don't know, but better Johnny don’t crash and we are fighting in the race and then maybe in Indonesia we are champion. I don't know. I’m not looking this side. I’m just focused on my race.”