Everyone was expecting some sort of confirmation from Toprak Razgatlioglu, and it came as early as the first day of testing. The Turkish rider ended the first day in front of everyone, showing his muscles and demonstrating that Yamaha no longer wants to play the role of factory outsider. Toprak found the best time towards the end, in quite curious circumstances.
"The exit in which I made my best time was going to be a race simulation – he revealed - and so I wasn’t going for a fast time, because you have to ride in a different way: the indications from the garage were to try and stay out on track as much as possible if I felt comfortable. On the fifth lap, however, I set my best time and the rear tyre was destroyed, especially on the left side".
The problem with tyres is nothing new on the island, and it seems that it has returned more prominently than ever.
“On this track we have always had tyre problems: you always have to try to get the bike up as soon as possible, but after at most ten laps you start to experience big problems. It is important not to push too hard at the beginning, so as not to lose grip and start to slide the bike too much."
The Yamaha, however, seems to respond well to the riding style of Toprak, who for the moment can’t find any defects in his R1. “I always felt the Kawasaki to be a bit heavy, this bike is easier to turn, but this track is particular for a number of reasons. A weak point? I don't know, but we'll see in the race."
His thoughts then turned to tomorrow, where the aim is to work for the race, in view of the opening round of the year. "Tomorrow I will try and do a race simulation, even more than one, we have to focus on that more than on one single lap".
Photo by Bruno Silveri