17th Jul 2023


RACE 1: 

Razgatlıoğlu Achieves 100 WorldSBK Podiums in Imola Race 1

Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli took their second team 1-2 qualifying result of 2023, followed by a thrilling performance in Race 1 at the seventh round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship in Italy.

After some confusion following Superpole this morning, where Locatelli initially had his fastest lap cancelled, the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK squad lined up first and second on the grid for the first points-paying race at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in WorldSBK since 2019.

It was “Loka” who got the hole-shot to lead the field into Turn 1, holding off attacks from Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) and his teammate Razgatlıoğlu until the Turkish ace hit the front on Lap 4. An opening set of laps that has audiences – and team management – equal parts thrilled and apprehensive!

The dream of a team 1-2 was shortly dispatched as main championship rivals Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) made a charge for the podium as the race settled in. Razgatlıoğlu held off Bautista until Lap 12 this time out, taking a hard-fought second place podium position once again at the end of Lap 19. The silver lining was in the #54 rider achieving a special career milestone of 100 WorldSBK podiums with the result.

Locatelli also battled hard in the extreme Imola heat, crossing the line in fourth position with hopes of fine tuning his R1 WorldSBK set-up to battle for the podium for the full race distance.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SP: P1 / Race 1: P2

“100 podiums, but now I am waiting for 100 wins! Today was not a bad race, just I am not 100% happy because I finish second position – my goal this weekend is to win the race, and in the beginning it feels good but when the tyres start to drop it is very difficult. I see also Bautista has very good acceleration on all straights – a really big advantage which gives him the gap. I try to keep fighting with him but not possible. Better than nothing, I finish the race second position and we will see tomorrow – normally we are really strong in the short race. We will work to improve rear grip and also Sector 1 and 2 – congratulations to all riders, very hot condition and not easy race, everyone did a really good job.”

Andrea Locatelli – SP: P2 / Race 1: P4

“It was really great to lead in the beginning of the race, I had great confidence and I could push really hard. But today, the choice we made for the front tyre was maybe wrong because I started to feel a lot sliding on the left side because the track was incredibly hot, especially in the last chicane. It was not easy, but in the end it was a quite good race – P4 and not too far from the podium. We just need to work a bit more and aim for the podium tomorrow. It’s my first time here in Imola with this bike, so I am happy to start like this!”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:

“It’s fantastic to be back at the iconic Imola circuit, even if the May temperature we’ve been used to in the past are a lot more comfortable than the extreme heat we have been experiencing this weekend. The guys both had a very solid Friday, the R1 seems to be working a lot better at Imola than it did the last time we were here – and translating that performance into first and second on the grid was simply great to see. The race was tough for all the riders and in Loka’s case it potentially could have been a little bit better as he was a touch compromised by his choice of ultra-soft front tyre, but in the end he gave a very consistent and strong performance. Toprak was aggressive as he always is, led the race for many laps, used every tool he had at his disposal to try and win – but, like a stuck record, once again it wasn’t enough. The acceleration difference once the tyres have taken a drop is just a joke, and whilst Alvaro is riding beautifully, in the end the balance of performance is clearly not quite right.”


Double Imola Win Delight for Razgatlıoğlu and Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK

The morning’s thrilling Superpole Race win was backed up by a sensational third place from teammate Andrea Locatelli, to bring two Yamaha R1 WorldSBKs to the podium in Parc Ferme, after Razgatlıoğlu made the race-deciding pass on main rival Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) on the penultimate lap.

But it was his masterful handling of the hottest ever track temperatures seen in WorldSBK (more than 60 degrees Celsius) in the reduced 15-lap Race 2 that had Turkish ace Razgatlıoğlu smiling the most. Bautista crashed out of contention at Turn 3 on the opening
lap, and Yamaha’s #54 rider controlled the race despite pressure from a charging Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) and six-time WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki).

In a return to top form which has seen “Loka” fast all weekend in Imola, the #55 rider battled hard to stay with the podium trio in Race 2 in an attempt to repeat or improve his result from the Superpole Race – where he had also led for half the race distance – but struggled more with rear grip in the afternoon.

Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli remain second and third place respectively in the Riders’ Championship, as Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK takes over the lead of the Teams’ Championship standings from main rival Racing Ducati.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P1 / Race 2: P1

“I’m very happy, finally to win the long race! I am waiting this year for this moment – I am very happy and thanks to my team for the incredible job this weekend, every session we improve my R1. I am sorry for Alvaro’s crash but you know, this is racing– and after this I had a plan to ride easy, not take the risk and follow Axel to keep a really good pace and look after the tyre. Anyway, we arrived to the win and I am very happy! First time winning for Yamaha in Imola, we did a very good job here. It was a very good weekend, everybody could watch “real” racing today!”

Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P3 / Race 2: P4

“I think we did a really good job this morning in the Superpole Race, the choice with the tyre and the set-up was perfect! I am a little bit disappointed about Race 2, because we changed the rear tyre choice and I’m not sure it was the best one for me – I was fighting yesterday with the front grip and today with the rear. I think we lost the opportunity to fight for the podium in the long race, but it was a strong and positive weekend. We need to be happy! It’s also my first time here with the R1 WorldSBK, I am proud of myself and proud of the job the team and Yamaha are doing with me. We need to be looking forward now, coming back stronger and pushing hard!”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:

“What a day! Yamaha’s first ever WorldSBK victory in Imola in the Superpole Race this morning – one of the most enthralling encounters we’ve ever seen – backed up by a brilliant podium for Loka. Toprak’s continued pressure possibly contributed to Alvaro’s mistake this afternoon, but anyway Toprak capitalised in full and controlled the race to bring home double victory. Loka didn’t quite have the rear grip in Race 2 that he had yesterday afternoon and struggled a little bit to more to fight with the front group – but still maintained a brilliant pace on his first ever big bike race here in Imola to cap off a really positive weekend for him and the team. We leave here in high spirits heading to Most, another good track for both of our riders and the R1 WorldSBK. Retaking the lead in the Teams’ Championship is just reward for all the efforts and commitment shown by everybody here in the garage.”