It’s a new day waiting for the show on two wheels to resume, and we have a new Live session for you. Yesterday's Live chat revolved around Superbike thanks to Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha Europe Racing Manager, who answered questions from Riccardo Guglielmetti, Andrea Rossi and the numerous listening fans. There were many issues that were dealt with as usual, starting with the sparkling debut on the R1 by Toprak Razgatlioglu, in the first (and only so far) SBK round of the season at Phillip Island.
“Toprak quickly adapted to the new bike,” began Dosoli, “thanks to his intelligence, and the fact that he won the first race I think will remain in the memory of many observers. The first thing that impresses you about him is how he manages to stop the bike, he has really incredible control of the bike, and in general he really has a great sensitivity in the saddle".
The Turk seems to have already earned the rank of captain within the official Yamaha team, but Dosoli also had words of praise for Michael Van Der Mark.
“Michael reaped less than what he sowed in Australia, he was missing something, but judging by how he worked in the winter I am convinced that he will have a lot of satisfaction. We must not forget that Phillip Island is a particular track, especially with regards to tyres".
Toprak's future looks brighter than ever, and MotoGP seems to be not so far away.
"During the negotiation phase, we inserted a clause whereby, if an offer from Yamaha for MotoGP arrived, Toprak could make his choices without any restrictions. The thing that struck me, however, is the fact that he is not thinking in the least of MotoGP at the moment, he wants to become Superbike champion and there are no MotoGP tests scheduled for him. In the past it happened that the SBK structure gave a rider ‘on loan’ to the MotoGP team in case of need, but it would only happen if we weren't fighting for anything important ".
In these cases it is also useful to look back into the past, to see how the Turkish rider ended up in Yamaha.
"I think Toprak was convinced of his choice even before Suzuka, there was already harmony and esteem between the two parties. Several times he told me that his dream was to be the first rider to bring the R1 back to the top after Ben Spies. "
Staying in Superbike, the satellite structure of Yamaha is certainly worth talking about, Filippo Conti's GRT team, with its two riders Garrett Gerloff and Federico Caricasulo.
“Garrett is a really exquisite person, and in the first tests he surprised us by going strong immediately. He knows the bike but not the circuits, which certainly will not help him this year, but already in Phillip Island he proved to be a rider who will give us satisfaction. Federico's debut was in line with expectations, therefore positive. We are in a particular situation, and we cannot wait until November to decide on the future of our riders: in a certain sense the best thing would be to leave everything as it is ".
There are currently two satellite teams from Yamaha, but in case the squad is expanded, there is no shortage of candidates, starting with the Bardahl Evan Bros. team.
"Technically it is a team set up for any eventual move into the top class, and the arrival of some technicians with Superbike experience can certainly help. In these cases, the biggest obstacle is financial, given that the expenditure goes up considerably and the team must be good at managing it: this is probably the last step to think about when you move to Superbike, but much will also depend on the desire of the patron Fabio Evangelista ".
In the structure mentioned above, Andrea Locatelli has been active since the start of this year, and Dosoli has words of appreciation for him.
“Locatelli's debut was the best possible one, but here too we have to wait before judging. In general I like his attitude: after winning the race at Phillip Island he immediately said to the team ‘I learned a lot, but we still have to improve in many ways’. SBK? He may have what it takes, and this could be a ‘problem’ for us in a way, but these are considerations to be made later. "
In addition to the ‘possible’ names, there is also room for ‘dream’ names in the ranks of future Yamaha Superbike riders, such as Valentino Rossi.
“Having Valentino would be a dream for everyone and therefore also for us. Certainly, his appearance in Superbike would help the championship to grow, but I don't think the production-based championship is in his thoughts, and Dorna will do everything to keep him in MotoGP even after retiring ".
In conclusion, Dosoli analysed the situation linked to the resumption of the championship and rejected the idea of running Superbike and MotoGP together.
“There are several issues to overcome for the restart of the championship, the most important are travel and safety. These are not as trivial as they may seem, and I would never forgive myself if one of our guys got sick on a weekend. Another point is the sustainability of the event for the various circuits. In this situation, I would be satisfied if we could do five or six races from August to November". Superbike and MotoGP together? It won't happen for sponsor and non-sponsor reasons, but beyond that I think it can be negative for Superbike, so I think it's better to keep the two championships separate”.