Toprak Razgatlioglu’s (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) move to BMW for 2024 caused shockwaves through the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock when it was announced at the end of May. Now, in a feature interview conducted at Misano, the 2021 Champion has spoken about his move to the German manufacturer for next season, his goals with BMW and how he wants to leave Yamaha by being crowned World Champion for the second time.
The next big dream: A ‘special’ mission at BMW…
BMW have claimed 13 wins during their time in WorldSBK, the most recent of which came in 2021 when Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) took victory in a mixed conditions Tissot Superpole Race at Portimao. This remains the only win for the M1000RR machine, introduced that year, but Razgatlioglu has his sights set higher than just wins with the Shaun Muir Racing-run team.
Revealing his goals for his time at BMW, the Turk said: “Everybody believes this is a bike that can’t win. I’m just thinking about showing everyone that the BMW is a winning bike. Ducati have the best bike in the paddock. If I go there and I win the Championship, it’s not special for me and this is why I’m going to BMW. Yamaha weren’t Champions for 12 years and we became Champions again. I will go to BMW which hasn’t been World Champions. My big dream is for me and BMW to be World Champions. This is a big goal.”
“The team is unbelievable”: Razgatlioglu’s Yamaha memories
The 26-year-old initially joined his current team for the 2020 season, and he will have spent four seasons with the Japanese brand. He has claimed 31 wins to date on the YZF-R1 as well as 81 podiums, and he took the 2021 title in sensational fashion after a season-long fight against Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). However, the Yamaha-Razgatlioglu partnership will conclude at the end of 2023 as he switches to BMW.
Expressing his gratitude to the team and manufacturer, he said: “I’ve been with Yamaha for four years and it’s not easy for me to change because I know everybody here. This team is unbelievable. I enjoyed my four years here and it’s not easy to change, but sometimes you need to. I’m not really happy because this is my last season with Yamaha, but I have very good memories. When I joined Yamaha in 2020, the team and Yamaha believed in me. In 2021, we were the World Champions. I’ll never forget this. We were fighting with Jonny. Everybody tried their best inside the box. For me, 2021 has the best memories with Yamaha because we were World Champions.”
Leaving on a high: Can he depart with a second title?
The Alanya-born rider’s 2021 title was the second Yamaha have won in WorldSBK and their first since 2009 when American star Ben Spies was crowned Champion. Razgatlioglu was unable to defend his Championship in 2022 as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) beat him after a sensational year-long fight, but the 33-time race winner is aiming to leave Yamaha with a present: he wants to claim the 2023 World Championship as a gift before departing for pastures new. Ahead of the UK Round, Razgatlioglu sits second in the standings and trails Bautista by 86 points.
Razgatlioglu said: “This year I am fighting in every race and trying more than 100%. In my last season with Yamaha, I’m trying to be World Champion again. If we are World Champions again this year, it will be a gift for Yamaha when I leave. It’s not been an easy start because Alvaro is very strong. He is unbelievably fast. This year we’ve won just one race, in Indonesia, but I need to win in Race 1 and Race 2. I will keep fighting. I will always try 100%. The season isn’t over, and we have many races left. I am thinking about the UK and Donington Park because this is my favourite track. I hope at Donington we win three races. If we start really strong and win the races, maybe we are putting pressure on Alvaro.”