Yesterday, we confirmed Alex Lowes' departure from Yamaha and today the Iwata manufacturer announces that it has reached an agreement with Toprak Razgatlioglu for 2020. The Turkish rider, fresh from his wins at Magny-Cours, will flank Michael van der Mark on the Pata team.
Toprak won the 2015 European Superstock 600 championship in his rookie season, before moving to 1000. Last year, he moved up to SBK with the Kawasaki of team Puccetti, immediately standing out. So much so that Yamaha set its sights on the 22-year old, selected as its factory rider for next season.
"Toprak Razgatlıoğlu is the most exciting young rider in WorldSBK and I'm both happy and proud that he will race for Yamaha in 2020 - comments Eric de Seynes, president of Yamaha Motor Europe - When you consider Toprak's progression this year, only his second in WorldSBK, his prodigious talent is obvious, but so is his warrior spirit. Like his teammate for next season, Michael van der Mark, he's a rider who always finds that little bit extra on race day and is prepared to push to the limit to overcome any obstacle.We saw that clearly in Magny-Cours, where he came from the sixth row of the grid to claim his first WorldSBK race win."
"We have also seen this season that Yamaha has closed the gap to our rivals on track and I'm excited to see what Toprak can do on our Yamaha YZF-R1 in 2020. With Michael and Toprak I think we will have one of the strongest and most dynamic rider line ups on the WorldSBK grid next year.”
Toprak has also received good luck messages from his former employees at Kawasaki.
Starting with Manuel Puccetti, who states: "All of us at Kawasaki Puccetti Racing have a special feeling about Toprak. We took him from his “first day of school” in STK 600 and we’ve grown together as rider and team. For us it is amazingly satisfying and we feel immensely proud of our five years together as Kawasaki rider and team. Toprak is a pure talent and an incredible warrior who learned this riding style from his manager, another Puccetti rider, Kenan Sofuoğlu. Toprak is a very relax guy and we are sure he has a good future in WorldSBK. Everyone at Kawasaki Puccetti Racing thanks him for his time with our team and Kawasaki.”
Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki Europe Racing manager, added: "It's been a pleasure working with Toprak since he was 16 years old, helping him grow up and succeed inside the Puccetti team on the various Kawasaki Ninja models. His mentor Kenan told me; ‘This kid is gold, please work with him.’ Of course we listened and he has always delivered Kawasaki top results in the Stock categories, and now concluding his journey with us by making history on the new Ninja ZX-10RR in the highest category of World Superbike. Of course we are very sad to see him move on but would like to thank Toprak and Kenan for their great achievements with Kawasaki."