2nd Oct 2023


RACE 1: 

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu tried “more than 100%” to fight for the victory today in Race 1 at the Autodromo do Algarve (Portimão) but ultimately crossed the line in second place at the penultimate round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship.

The “morning star” was Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK teammate Andrea Locatelli who surprised with a super strong third-fastest qualifying lap in Superpole. The Italian served a back-of-the-grid penalty in Race 1 (from an Aragon infringement), but was through to P15 in just two corners from 24th place and pushed on to recover to P9 by the chequered flag. He will be able to start from his well-earned front row position in the Superpole Race tomorrow morning.

Razgatlıoğlu qualified just behind “Loka” in fourth position – promoted to the front row for Race 1 in place of the #55 Yamaha R1 WorldSBK – and capitalised immediately to take the holeshot into Turn 1 and lead the opening lap. A tactic to settle in behind the Kawasaki of Alex Lowes on Lap 2 to preserve tyre life wouldn’t last for long, as a hectic four-way battle commenced with four-abreast braking into Turn 1 on Lap 4, forcing Razgatlıoğlu to push through to the front once more.

After a few laps of serious fighting, in the end it was a familiar story as Alvaro Bautista used the strengths of his package to full effect – utilising a drive advantage off the final corner onto the long main straight at the end of Lap 8 to take the lead and command the race, despite relentless pressure from Razgatlıoğlu and his R1.

With 52 points separating Razgatlıoğlu from the leader, there is still a mathematical chance to take the title fight to the final round in Jerez – as long as the deficit does not grow to 62 points. The Teams’ Championship is also still open between Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK and Aruba Racing.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SP: P4 / Race 1: P2

“In qualifying, I did a good lap time but for me it’s not enough to start in P4 – but in the race also we started well and a little bit fighting with Alvaro but the pace was very strong. Every lap I keep pushing a lot, more than 100% to try for the best position – all corners I am coming step-by-step but it’s not easy. In the last laps I am feeling the rear grip drop and I was waiting for Alvaro’s rear tyre to drop as well to have a chance to attack, but it did not happen. Every lap I got closer but last corner and in the straight he is too strong. But, we understand something now and I think tomorrow in Superpole everyone will enjoy, I will push more than 100% again and try to win.”

Andrea Locatelli ­– SP: P3 / Race 1: P9

“It was for sure a difficult Race 1! Especially in the first couple of laps, with the slipstream and the wind pushing on the braking point in Turn 1, it was not easy to stop the bike. So, I think we lost a little bit the opportunity to fight with the front group and potentially to finish in the top five. The rhythm was not so bad though! Now we look forward to another two chances tomorrow because we did a really good job in the qualifying and will start from P3 in the Superpole Race. We need to be proud of this and look forward. We’re working a lot from Friday and today to improve the bike, and now I have a really good feeling with my R1. I am really happy and feeling confident from my ability to fight with the front group for qualifying, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow – especially in the long race.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:

“Honestly, winning is always the target – which is why all the top teams and manufacturers are here – but today, Toprak and his R1’s performance simply has to be applauded. Absolutely nothing was left out on the track in his quest to beat Bautista and the Ducati package, and he kept him under an incredible amount of pressure and nearly made it happen. Kudos to Toprak and his team for a fantastic performance. Loka’s race was always going to be difficult from last place on the grid following the Aragon penalty, but from 24th to 15th on the first lap set him up nicely for a well-judged comeback to ninth. Tomorrow he starts from his brilliant qualifying result of third and we expect him to be in the mix with the fastest guys.”


Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s Toprak Razgatlıoğlu put in the performance of his career in both the Superpole Race and Race 2 at the Autodromo do Algarve (Portimão), in a bid to close the gap in the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship, but twice was cruelly denied victory at the final corner on the final lap.

A well-deserved team double-podium result in the Superpole Race was not enough to overcome the disappointment of repeatedly watching main rival Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) overtake Razgatlıoğlu onto Portimao’s main straight.

The Turkish talent left absolutely nothing out on the track today – overtaking Bautista no less than ten times, alternating between key hard-braking areas at Turns 1, 5 and 13 in Race 2 – but the Ducati rider responded every time on the exit of Turn 15 onto the long start-finish straight. Two second-place podiums for our #54 seemed little consolation, given the monumental commitment to victory.

Teammate Andrea Locatelli retook his place on the front row of the grid and converted his excellent pace from Saturday into a terrific third place podium this morning. While he dropped back a little in the final stages of the longer 20-lap test, he was well in contention for another run at the podium and pleased with his performance across the weekend.

While the Riders’ Championship looks all but out of reach for 2023, the Teams’ Championship is still open as Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK holds a seven-point lead over Aruba Racing (Ducati) going into the final round at Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto later this month from 27-29 October.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P2 / Race 2: P2

“End of the race I am not happy, we give everything – every corner – but again we lose the win because especially on the last corner exit, Alvaro and his bike are very strong. Just I am angry because every corner we are pushing more than 100% and only the last corner, the Ducati pass me. This is not easy for me to accept, because the feeling is that it is unbelievable – not real. I see the chequered flag and he pass me, if he passed me on the corner entry, this is easier to accept. My team did a really good job, I know, but in general I am not happy because we are not winning. This race I am just focus on winning, especially last four or five laps it was not easy to ride, I felt the front brakes locking and rear tyre drop – I tried more than 100% and I am still fighting. I say, I am not closing the gas, I push a lot to win and to finish second like this is not easy to accept. Thanks to Yamaha and my team, also everyone watching for your support, I am always fighting and never give up. I will try again to fight for the win in Jerez.”

Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P3 / Race 2: P5

“It was an amazing Superpole Race to finish on P3 and start again in the same position for Race 2. Unfortunately, it was a strange weekend to start from last on the grid yesterday and I lost the opportunity to work very well like we always do in a normal Race 1, to understand the bike and prepare for Sunday. So – this afternoon it was a little bit more difficult for me and we were a bit on the back foot in some small points – especially after 15 laps. But, in the end it was still a positive weekend – no mistakes, we got some good points and we were fast in the Superpole. We need just a little bit of improvement on the feeling, especially in the front, but I think we can say it was another very good weekend. I’m always pushing to try to be stronger, to finish the season well and try to prepare for the next season because it is important for me and for Yamaha.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:

“I don’t think either myself or the team has ever been more disappointed with a double podium this morning and a second place this afternoon. Normally in life, you get what you deserve – but I really felt today, especially in Race 2, that Toprak’s spirit, efforts and speed absolutely deserved a victory. Of course, Alvaro is also riding spectacularly well – Race 2 demonstrated two riders at the absolute peak of their abilities – but coming out on the wrong side of the win in the last corner twice today was pretty devastating. On Loka’s side: great qualifying, great third place this morning and a slightly disappointing end to Race 2 slipping back from podium contention to fifth in the last few laps. Thanks to both riders and the full Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK team for maximising our performance as always.”