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Eazi Grip

Toprak Razgatlioglu wins Race One and stunning Superpole Race for BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team

Saturday

Winning at Barcelona was Toprak Razgatlioglu’s declared goal for this second race weekend of the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). He achieved it in the first main race. With his first pole position and his first win aboard the BMW M 1000 RR, Razgatlioglu secured a perfect Saturday for himself, BMW Motorrad Motorsport and the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. On only his second race weekend as a BMW Motorrad factory rider, he stood on the top step of the podium for the first time. It was also the first win in a main race for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Previously, Michael van der Mark secured a win in a Superpole Race.

In the Superpole qualifying on Saturday morning, Razgatlioglu had already made the team jubilant. Setting a new all-time track record, he placed his BMW M 1000 RR on pole position. In the race, he initially held onto the lead, but then slipped back to third place temporarily in the tight battle for the front positions. However, the Turkish rider kept his cool. First, he reclaimed second position and then set out to catch up to Nicolò Bulega (Ducati), who led with a several-second gap. In an extremely exciting finish, Razgatlioglu eventually took the lead again on the final lap and defended the win to the finish line. Among the first to congratulate him was Markus Flasch, Head of BMW Motorrad, who witnessed this successful race Saturday at Barcelona on-site.

Team-mate Michael van der Mark also secured a very good starting position with fourth place in the Superpole. He was also in the mix for podium finishes for a long time but then lost positions and finished ninth.

It was a challenging Saturday for the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team. Garrett Gerloff finished the first race in twelfth place. Team-mate Scott Redding crossed the finish line in 17th position.

Markus Flasch, Head of BMW Motorrad: “Congratulations to everyone on this fantastic win! It was great to cheer with the team in the pit box. Toprak has shown that he is a very special rider and person. We knew he had a bike capable of winning with the BMW M 1000 RR, and it’s fantastic that we could prove it already on the second race weekend. Thanks to everyone for the hard work, to Toprak, to our BMW Motorrad Motorsport crew, and to the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Let‘s keep it up!”

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “An unbelievable day! We knew we were strong but we also knew that it would be extremely difficult against the Ducatis. I said this morning that we are going to have two people on the first two rows of the starting grid. That came true. Then I was confident that we could fight for the podium. I also would have been very pleased with second position, but the way Toprak pushed on the last laps was just unbelievable. Thanks to this guy, thanks to the team for a magnificent package. We deserved it but I did not think that it would come so early. So I am extremely pleased. Now we focus on tomorrow, there are two more races to go – and then we party!”

Toprak Razgatlioglu: “I am really happy. Thanks to my team, they did an unbelievable job with really hard work and finally we are winning. This victory has special importance for me as I never won here on this circuit before. It has been my dream and finally I have a victory in Catalunya. This is an unbelievable moment because this race was really hard. If we win here, I think fighting will be easier on other race tracks. After Bulega passed me, I just followed him but after two laps I said, okay, I am pushing a little bit too hard for the rear tyre. The podium is enough for me because I know that on this track, the rear tyres have a big drop on the last five laps. Then on the last five, six laps I saw that Bulega started to drop and I pushed hard, especially on the brakes. At the first round of the season I felt a lot of pressure as I was my first weekend with BMW but here that was not the case anymore but as Markus Flasch is here, we wanted to achieve something for him. To get pole position and win the race made it an unbelievable day. We have two more races tomorrow and now we will focus on those.”

Michael van der Mark: “My day was honestly not too bad. I had a really good feeling this morning in Superpole and I worked really well together with Toprak. So we had P1 and P4 on the grid which was really good. I also felt really strong with the bike. In the race, I had an okay start. On the first few laps, I did not get the right feeling but then I found a good rhythm and a good pace. I was in P4 for a long time but unfortunately at the end I struggled too much with the tyre wear. I might have pushed a bit too hard in the beginning. We have to analyse it. But I think that the results shows that we are coming and Toprak winning on the BMW M 1000 RR is just amazing so I am really happy with the overall day for the whole team.”

Garrett Gerloff: “It has not been my most memorable day here in Catalunya. Qualifying could have been better and the race could have been better. I don’t feel too bad but everybody is going really fast and it is just hard to stand out and move forward for me at the moment, I guess. But congratulations to Toprak on the win. It’s crazy impressive and we will try some stuff for tomorrow and see if we can improve.”

Scott Redding: “Qualifying was not too bad. We managed to salvage some of the struggles of this weekend to qualify 12th and moved up to 11th due to someone having a penalty. That was okay but I knew that in the race I would still struggle a little bit because the pace for the weekend has not been where we want. Then in the race we made a change on the bike which didn’t work in a positive way, making the braking area more difficult for me to brake late so it was hard to overtake. Then with about seven laps to go, my rear tyre dropped massively. That was basically the race for me. I was trying to manage it as best as I could. We hope that we can find something for tomorrow because we had the pace to be in the small group in front of me. We just need to find a little bit for tomorrow.”

Sunday

The second race weekend of the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at Barcelona  turned into a success story for BMW Motorrad Motorsport. Following the pole position and the celebrated first joint victory on Saturday, Toprak Razgatlioglu and the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK had plenty to cheer about on Sunday as well. Razgatlioglu claimed his next victory in the extremely exciting Superpole Race in the morning and followed it up with a third-place finish on the podium in the second main race. Teammate Michael van der Mark returned to the front group with a fourth-place finish. The Bonovo action BMW Racing Team secured another top ten finish with Garrett Gerloff .

The Superpole Race on Sunday morning kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Starting from pole position, Razgatlioglu initially dropped to fifth place. In the fourth of ten laps, he moved up to fourth place, and in the following lap, he made a sensational manoeuvre to regain the lead. He then battled with Andrea Iannone (Ducati) and Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) with several lead changes for the victory. In the last corner, Razgatlioglu once again executed an impressive manoeuvre and clinched his second victory of the weekend.

Razgatlioglu also started the second main race on Sunday afternoon from pole position. After the start, he was briefly in fourth place, but it didn’t take long for him to work his way into the podium positions. He stayed close behind the leading Ducati riders Bautista and Nicolò Bulega for a long time, but this time it wasn’t enough for a final sprint back to the very top. Thus, Razgatlioglu concluded his extremely successful Barcelona weekend with a third-place finish on the podium. After the finish, he embraced teammate van der Mark, who completed the strong team result in fourth place. In the Superpole Race, van der Mark finished sixth.

The Bonovo action BMW Racing Team returned to the top ten on Sunday. Both riders, Gerloff and Scott Redding, engaged in a long duel with several position changes. In the end, Gerloff prevailed in tenth place, with Redding following just 0.4 seconds behind in eleventh place.

The third round of the 2024 WorldSBK season will be held from 19th to 21st April at Assen.

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Before we came here, we hoped to claim another podium. That was the target after a good test last week but we also saw that the Ducatis were extremely strong. To come away four trophies, pole position, two wins and one podium, is absolutely magnificent. I am speechless, honestly. It is extremely good for the project and I am even looking further forward to the rest of the season which gives me more confidence. Not just Toprak, also Mickey did a fantastic job, with fourth in qualifying yesterday, sixth in this morning’s Superpole Race and a very strong fourth position in main race two. It’s well deserved. I just enjoy the moment right now. It is highly emotional, this weekend had only ups. We’ve had enough downs in the past years so it’s good to get through the valley of tears. On the Bonovo side, the weekend was more difficult but in the final race, Garrett and Scott were in the ball park so we can build from there and like I said, there are better races to come. Overall, this weekend leaves me overwhelmed and very pleased.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu: “I am really happy for this moment because this is a dream. Not only for me, for BMW and the team. We claimed two victories at Barcelona, and for me it has been an amazing weekend. Especially today’s last race was a very hard, the pace was really strong. Alvaro started normal and then pushed very hard. I just tried to follow him but I felt a lot of spinning and closed the gas because in a 20-lap race you need a good tyre with good grid for the last five laps. But in general, I am very happy because we were on the podium in all three races, including two wins. Especially the Superpole Race was incredible, when I passed Alvaro in the last corner. I think this is in my top three overtakes of my career. I am also very happy for BMW. We are coming step by step and I think we will be stronger on the other race tracks. Everyone is very happy and will now work even harder. We have a very good package. We are coming, we are not so far and this year I think we can get many wins and I hope that we will be World Champions. I hope!”

Michael van der Mark: “Honestly I think for the whole team it has been a fantastic weekend. This was one of our worst tracks and to see Toprak getting two wins, another podium and the pole position, was great, and I had some really strong results this weekend, too. So I am really happy, really satisfied with the improvement on the bikes. Honestly, to finish P6 this morning was quite good, but to finish fourth in race two was a big relief for me. It’s nice to see that I get back on a really good level and I’m just really happy with the whole weekend. I think it gives the whole team a big boost, and also for me, for the next race at Assen which I am really looking forward to. At least now we arrive there knowing how good the package can be.”

Garrett Gerloff: “So we are at the end of the weekend. I am not going to lie, I was hoping and expecting a better weekend than it was. We just struggled a bit with some things. I feel like I struggle with some riding stuff on my side and also I had some issues with some setting stuff on the bike side. It wasn’t easy, there weren’t clear answers and I am kind of leaving the weekend thinking that we don’t have a clear answer of what we were missing. We were just missing something that’s not small. We just try to regroup over the next weeks and come back to Assen and have a strong race there.”

Scott Redding: “The weather today was unexpected. We had some rain this morning so we did not ride in the warm up. The Superpole Race was quite good for me. I felt pretty good so I managed to gain some confidence for race two. There, I was really motivated to finish in the top ten. That was my goal. I came off the start, I came together with Dominique Aegerter so I lost some positions. Then in turn three, Iker Lecouna just ran me off the track, so I lost again some positions and then we kind of settled; the group was trying to save the tyres. Then there was a big crash in turn one. I am happy that they both walked away okay from it. There was a gap I had to try to close and I used my tyre more. I felt good on the bike, that was the main thing. I felt that I could actually push the bike and start to race and have confidence. On the last few laps, the tyre dropped more. I finished 11th in the end; the top ten was there. So I was happy, because Barcelona is one of the worst tracks in the calendar for me and I came away with confidence which is the first time in three years that this has happened, so I look forward to the next round.”

Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2024 in News

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