31st Jul 2023


RACE 1: 

Pole and Podium for Razgatlıoğlu on Saturday Amidst Most Mayhem

Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s Toprak Razgatlıoğlu claimed his fourth pole position of the season and then followed it up by storming to second during a frantic Race 1 in mixed conditions at the Autodrom Most, Round 8 of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship, with his teammate Andrea Locatelli battling hard to secure a top-six finish.

Saturday in the Czech Republic had its fair share of drama during qualifying and Race 1, with changing conditions in the afternoon meaning that tyre strategy became key. Sunshine greeted the riders for the 20-minute Superpole session in the morning, with Razgatlıoğlu setting the bar as he showed sensational pace to secure his 12th WorldSBK career pole position, and the 50th for Yamaha in WorldSBK, by setting a new lap record with a 1’30.801.

Following some confusion due to yellow flag infringements and cancelled laps, Locatelli had his fastest time removed but still managed a 1’31.680, which meant the Italian rider would line up seventh on the grid.

Then rain before the start created a wet Race 1, but with the 4.212km track constantly drying tyre choice became vital, and both Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK riders opted for an intermediate setup which would turn out to be exactly the right selection.

When the lights went out for the 22-lap race, the riders who gambled on full wets broke away at the front, but as the track conditions improved, Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli started to battle their way back through the pack as the conditions began to favour inters.

The Turkish ace scythed through the riders ahead of him as his confidence grew, and by lap 10 he was up to second, setting his sights on hunting down Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki), who had a 12-second advantage at the front. Maintaining his pace and closing constantly, Razgatlıoğlu just ran out of laps, bringing his R1 home in a superb second place, 4.007s behind Rea, with “Loka” fighting all the way to the line to finish in sixth.

In the process, Razgatlıoğlu secured his 19th consecutive podium to close the gap to Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) at the top of the championship standings to 54 points, with two more chances to reduce the deficit even further on Sunday. Locatelli is now fourth overall, eight points behind Rea and confident of being able to fight for the podium during the rest of the weekend.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SP: P1 / Race 1: P2

“The beginning of the race for me was very difficult because I don’t have much experience on the intermediate tyres. It was only the third time in my career that I have used them and I was a bit nervous. After five or six laps, I was able to start pushing and make up places. Then during the last six laps, I gave it everything to try and get the victory and closed the gap to just four seconds when we crossed the line, but I just ran out of time. We took a gamble, and it was tough at the start of the race, but in the end, we managed to close the gap to Bautista in the championship standings, so it proved to be a good choice. It was tricky for everyone with the changing conditions, but the team did a great job; we made the right choice and are ready to fight for victory tomorrow.”

Andrea Locatelli – SP: P7 / Race 1: P6

“It was a tricky race, as choosing and managing the tyres was difficult. We went for the right option with the intermediates, even though we lost some time initially, because we could make up places as the race continued. We made the most out of a difficult situation; although I would have preferred to have been on the podium, I suffered a bit during the last few laps. We will look at the data and try and understand where we can improve. I hope the conditions are dry tomorrow as I think we have a very good potential and can fight for the podium.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:

“It was a very positive but also complicated day here in Most. Qualifying saw Toprak produce incredible pace, which set us up for a potential victory this afternoon, and even if “Loka” was starting from seventh, we were confident he could fight for the podium. The rain before the race made everything much more complex, but the riders and team collectively made great tyre decisions. The first few laps were a little bit worrying on Toprak’s side, as clearly, he did not have the confidence to push as hard as some of the other riders on intermediates. Still, once he found his feeling, he again showed that both he and the R1 are a match for anybody, reducing a 15-second gap to Johnathan Rea on lap seven to just four seconds when they crossed the line. Of course, we would have rather won the race, but in such treacherous conditions, a very solid second place is more than welcome. Loka’s race to sixth was challenging, and with a little bit more feel in the last few laps, he could have possibly finished fourth, but as I said, it was complicated out there, and he did a solid job too. If it is dry tomorrow, we will look to go even better with both riders.”


Superpole Race Victory Little Consolation After Razgatlıoğlu’s Race 2 DNF

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu crashed out of the lead of Race 2 at Autodrom Most after his rear tyre suffered a catastrophic failure at the eighth round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship in the Czech Republic today.

Starting this morning’s Superpole Race 54 points behind his title rival, Razgatlıoğlu did everything within his power – and then some – to close the gap to Alvaro Bautista. The 10-lap sprint showcased some of the finest racing WorldSBK has to offer, as titans Razgatlıoğlu and six-time World Champion Jonathan Rea both took to the front in the opening laps – capitalising on Bautista’s poor qualifying position. The pair put on a show for Most’s 53,871-strong fan attendance, when Rea made vied for lead into Turn 20 at the end of Lap 6 and Razgatlıoğlu responded immediately – finishing strongly for his 37th-career victory.

Race 2 saw a return of Bautista to the front with a powerful start off the line to overhaul pole-sitter Razgatlıoğlu in the run down to Turn 1, but it wouldn’t be for long as the Turkish ace set about hunting down the Ducati using the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK’s strengths across the majority of Most’s 21 corners. By Lap 7, the #54 rider caught and passed the Spaniard – the two went toe-to-toe enjoying an intense battle for the lead, but a mistake by Bautista on Lap 15 gave Razgatlıoğlu the chance to put the hammer down and open up a 0.6-second gap until his race was cruelly ended on Lap 17.

It was a day to forget for teammate Andrea Locatelli – whose early pace in the weekend had set him up for the podium fight. An uncharacteristic mistake in the Superpole Race saw the Italian rider crash out of the opening lap on the still-drying track. The DNF put him on the back foot for Race 2, starting P10 where he found it difficult to make progress forward, unable to climb higher than seventh.

Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK retains a six-point lead in the Teams’ Championship standings from Aruba.it Racing Ducati, as the points deficit has grown in the Riders’ Championship: Razgatlıoğlu now lies 74 points behind Bautista after closing the gap to 49 points after his Superpole win, while Locatelli slips one place back to fourth behind Rea.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P1 / Race 2: DNF

“It was a very strange race – my rear tyre burst and also I am surprised, because after I crashed I am looking back thinking chain or something like this, and I see my tyre. Very strange, this is the first time in my life. I am lucky because also not a fast corner, I crash on a slower corner – this is good and I am ok. But, in the last six laps I am riding more calm – I see the gap getting big to Bautista and the feeling was really good on my R1. It was a good race for me, I was enjoying the fight – we fight clean and I think all fans enjoying! Especially the first corner! I just try to do my best, very bad luck for me. I’m not angry for Pirelli – I don’t know why this tyre is like this, I am just very surprised and it is very strange. We have many races, and I keep looking to the future and keep fighting.”

Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: DNF / Race 2: P7

“A bit of a strange weekend first of all, and a bit unlucky – unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of points during this weekend but honestly it was not easy. We tried to push to get the maximum in every session but this morning in the Superpole Race we were unlucky. I lost the rear, maybe I was a bit off line and the conditions after the rain were tricky – then to start from the back in Race 2 was difficult. We need to learn from it but also forget it and look forward to Magny-Cours, we will try again from there to get more feeling and more confidence to fight again. I am a bit sad because I would like to get more points, especially on this track because in 2021 it was a good circuit for us. But now we will keep working and prepare well for the next races to finish the season strong.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:

“Incredibly disappointing end to a very positive race weekend here in Most. Toprak’s superb performance yesterday was backed up by a brilliant victory in the Superpole Race – and after a fierce battle with Alvaro in Race 2, finally Toprak had made enough of a gap to start flowing and we had no doubt that the race at that point was won. Unfortunately, Toprak suffered a catastrophic rear tyre failure, resulting in an instantaneous puncture. The only positive from that was that it did not happen in one of the extremely fast left-hand corners on this track and that he is ok. What should have been a 44-point gap to the championship lead at the end of this event is now again 74, but we can only keep doing our best and pushing race-by-race. For Loka, today was a disappointment – crash in the Superpole Race and a steady P7 in Race 2: not what he and the R1 are capable of. So we look forward to regrouping with Loka in Magny-Cours and pushing towards the podium fight yet again.”